China is to impose a new tax on textile exports from 1 January 2005 in response to pressure from the US and Europe for regulatory measures once global quotas expire next month.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that duties on unspecified textile products will be based on the quantity of the export rather than the value of the goods in order to "encourage high-end textiles."

However there was no indication of how high the duties would be, and it is unclear whether they will satisfy Washington which has until February to decide whether to impose temporary limits on Chinese textile imports to the US.

"This is part of a string of measures China will take to ensure a smooth transition for textile integration following the end of the quota system," said ministry spokesperson Chong Quan.

Chong added that the new eight-point plan was based on suggestions from industry associations and textile and apparel producers.

"The government encourages domestic companies to run businesses abroad and will facilitate their trade and offer favourable policies for textile companies intending overseas investment and getting involved in globalisation," he said.

Measures include the promotion of industry standards to help bring Chinese manufacturers' management in line with international practices, as well as various trade promotions to encourage textile and clothing firms to create their own brands and increase input in research, development and design.