A row over the quality of feathers used in down coats seems to have temporarily receded, with some manufacturers pledging not to start a price war during the peak buying season, according to state media.

The 10 manufacturers who control around two-thirds of the mainland's down coat market recently attended a meeting called by the China Feather and Down Industry Association but only half of them signed an agreement, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

This may mean a ceasefire in the clothing industry sniping, at least for the time being. Some insiders believe a price war is unavoidable this winter and many claim to have seen the warning signs months ago.

One of those signs came in August when in place of the thermal underwear ads that dominated television screens the previous year were adverts with the same movie stars, but this time sporting stylish down coats.

It was deja vu with a shadowy reminder of the price war that followed underwear promotions and the huge stockpiles afterwards.

China's 300 manufacturers have saturated the down coat market - producing 27 million of the fluffy garments last year and managing to sell about 70 per cent of them, according to the newspaper China Business.


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World Textile Fibers to 2003

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The 2000 World Market Forecasts for Imported Textile Coats & Jackets