The Chinese government has agreed to end a range of subsidies that help boost sales of Chinese-branded merchandise around the world - including apparel and textiles - rather than face a fight with the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In a decision announced on Friday (18 December), the office of the US Trade Representative said the deal marks the end of "numerous subsidies we identified as prohibited under WTO rules."

The agreement between Washington and Beijing brings to a close legal action begun by the US at the WTO last December.

In its case, the US said it had identified more than 90 official measures "providing what appeared to be WTO-inconsistent financial support."

These included cash grant rewards for exporting, preferential loans for exporters, research and development funding to develop new products for export, and payments to lower the cost of export credit insurance.

The subsidies, the US said, were tied to exports, "giving an unfair competitive advantage to Chinese products and denying US manufacturers the chance to compete fairly with them."

Key to the case were three central government initiatives promoting famous Chinese brand merchandise - the 'Famous Export Brand' initiative, the 'China World Top Brand' initiative, and the 'China Name Brand Products' initiative.

But the US also identified several other subsidy programmes that appeared to benefit Chinese exports - including textiles - "regardless of whether they were famous brands."

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said: "The termination of the subsidies will level the playing field for American workers in a wide range of manufacturing and export sectors."