The growth of China's textile and clothing exports could slow to 16% this year as government measures to reduce the country's trade surplus start to bite.

According to the country's economic planning agency, last year's textile and clothing exports rose by 25.2%, with overseas shipments reaching US$144bn.

The National Development and Reform Commission now believes the value of exports in 2007 will total around US$165bn.

The slowdown in export growth is due to the appreciation of the yuan, which is weakening the price advantage of exported products; restrictions on exports imposed by the US and EU; and Beijing's decision to cut export rebates for knitted and woven garments from 13% to 11% from 1 July.

Customs figures show China's textile and garment exports were worth US$57.37bn in the first five months of this year, up 15.6% year-on-year.