China's textile and garment export growth in the first quarter of this year has slowed from the double-digit figures posted in 2011 - but plans are also afoot to double textile output by 2020.

The latest data from China Customs, published on the China National Textile and Apparel Council website, show the value of garment exports rose 3.9% in the three months from January to March to US$29.57bn. Textile exports, meanwhile, rose 1.4% year on year to reach US$20.44bn.

In the same period last year, however, figures published on just-style show the value of textile shipments soared 32.7% to US$20.17bn, while garment exports rose 18.5% to US$28.46bn.

Much of this growth is likely to be due to higher average prices of apparel made in China, rather than rising demand from customers in Europe, North America and Japan.

Nevertheless, the state-run Xinhua news agency separately said Chinese textile producers aim to more than double the country's textile output by 2020 from levels seen in 2010.

A 10-year plan approved by China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) this week wants to increase textile and clothing exports by an annual rate of about 7%. The export value of fibre products is targeted to rise to $400bn by 2020, helped by investment in new technologies, design, and the development of new materials.

Growth is also seen from rising domestic demand, with CNTAC expecting spending on clothing by Chinese urban consumers to grow by around 12.5% year-on-year by 2020, up from around $265.8 in 2011.

The most recent figures from China's National Bureau of Statistics show spending on garments jumped 19.5% in April from a year earlier - and has grown at an average monthly rate of 21.6% over the last ten months.