Indonesia's textile exports will miss the 2000 $8bn target by a wide margin, said the Indonesian Textile Association (API) Tuesday. It estimates that exports will reach only $7.3bn this year, down from $7.5bn last year.

Outgoing general secretary Irwandy Muslim Amin attributed the decline to falling orders from the US and Europe, Indonesia's largest export markets.

However, exports to non-quota markets increased by 20 per cent, with the Middle East and North Africa being the biggest customers.

"Exporters must penetrate these markets more aggressively to anticipate the declining trend in the US and Europe next year," Irwandy said.

He warned that exports would remain stagnant next year because of lower demand from the US and Europe. This situation would be compounded by unfavourable economic conditions in Indonesia, which were also to blame for the poor results in 2000. He added that the 30 per cent increase in shipping rates was partly responsible for the poor performance of textile exports.

"The economic conditions at home must be improved if we want to compete with others," Irwandy concluded.