China's national textile federation has teamed up with a US firm to source fashions from mainland factories when global quotas are lifted on 1 January 2005.

The China National Textile and Apparel Council and its affiliate China Textile Network Co Ltd said the 50-50 joint venture with CNTextile LLC aims to transform a complex sourcing market into a one-stop, full-service e-market, using state-of-the-art sourcing processes.

The new Beijing-based company, called CNTextile JV, will offer e-market trading and training services to the Chinese fashion industry and a portal for purchases by producers in China from US suppliers.

It has been designed to accelerate trade in 12 manufacturing sectors including cotton, wool, silk, leaf-fibre textile, knitting, yarn-dyed weaving, dyeing-printing- finishing, home-textiles, industrial-textiles, apparel, chemical fibres and textile machinery.

The joint venture will have multiple offices in the US and China.

China Textile Network Company chairman Xia Lingmin said: "The CNTextiles joint venture provides a formal bridge for CNTEX to provide our members with training, technology and other services to improve our ability to compete in the global marketplace and to customise our capabilities to meet the specific needs of the market in the United States."

Mr Feng Guoping and Ms Zhu Sha of CNTEX will serve as joint venture board members, along with Thomas Eggleston and Warren Hartenstine from the US.

Mr Eggleston is a former chairman, president and CEO of Amway Asia Pacific. Mr Hartenstine worked in management positions with Kannegiesser and Gerber, is president of the Services Group of the American Apparel & Footwear Association's (AAFA) Supplier Resource Division and is also a member of its Enterprise Competitiveness Council.

Mr Hartenstine, general manager for CNTextile's day-to-day operations, said: "Our mission is to increase the velocity of textile, apparel and home furnishing trade between the US and China while decreasing the complexity, risk and cost.

"Today, China supplies $2.5 billion in fashion products to the US market but observers generally agree that this figure will jump to $7.2 billion within months of the end of quotas.

"Given five-fold growth, there are distinct competitive advantages in our e-market that improve collaboration, lower costs and provide transparent processes.

"By partnering with the China Textile Federation, we have the tools to normalise and optimise the sourcing opportunities in China for US partners regardless of size or trade volume."

With more than 50,000 companies, 300,000 factories and 15 million employees, the textile, apparel and home textiles industry is by far the largest segment of China's economy.