EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson says the European Commission is drawing up guidelines to regulate textiles trade once quotas are lifted on 1 January.

But, speaking to reporters after meeting Canadian trade minister Jim Peterson, Mandelson also said the EU would not itself undermine the benefits of textiles liberalisation.

"Our first responsibility is to make sure that we maintain the prize of liberalisation in this sector.

"The removal of quotas is I think a tremendous achievement and advance for the international trading system and I don't intend to do anything to diminish that prize," he said.

He added that his "responsibility is to make sure that the way in which this change occurs does so in as efficient and smooth a way as possible and does not send a shock to that sector, in particular that weak and vulnerable countries are not sent reeling by its impact."

He said the EU had set up a special monitoring system for textiles from China and was working on guidelines for triggering the imposition of emergency import restrictions.