An industry leader has called on the US and Canadian governments to join forces with the Mexican textile industry and help support the sector's development.

Adolfo Kalasch Misrahi, head of the National Textile Industry Chamber (CNIT), said stronger ties and funding of at least US$1 billion were needed if the industry was to face the rising tide of competition from China and other Asian nations. He added that the Mexican textile industry was viable, having recovered 10,000 of the 32,000 jobs lost in 2001.

Economy secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez added that one third of the textile industry's sales were lost to the illegal market, and that the federal government was now pursuing a policy of "zero tolerance for contraband."