Indonesia's textile and garment exports dropped in three of its key markets in the first half of this year as buyers began to cut their orders in favour of rival producers such as China.

According to Bisnis Indonesia, exports to the US plunged to $902 million from $1.1 billion in the year-ago period, with EU exports down to $471m from $583m and Canadian exports down to $33m from $47m in 2001.

The paper quoted Natsir Mansyur of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), as saying that the decline reflected the problems faced by the nation’s textile industry, particularly increased worldwide competition.

Only last week, a senior API official warned the industry would "collapse" in 2005 unless the government takes urgent action to help scores of clothing companies that employ tens of thousands of workers.