Textile and apparel industry leaders from around the world will gather in Switzerland later this month for top-level talks on the removal of trade barriers in 2005 and what impact it will have on the industry.

Organised by European trade body Euratex, the Geneva gathering will be attended by company chiefs and industry experts who will look at ways they can benefit from freer trade and more open markets.

They will also discuss calls from developing countries to quicken the opening up of markets as they bid for a slice of an industry that employs 30 million people and boasts an annual turnover of almost $300 billion.

Representatives from the US, UK, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico and Bangladesh will be among those present at the two day meeting while China - which will be one of the main beneficiaries from the scrapping of quotas - is also expected to attend.

Euratex Director-General, William Lakin, said it is vital for leading textile companies from World Trade Organisation states to discuss together the future challenges facing the industry and how it can flourish.

The two-day meeting will kick-off on September 21 but will be held behind closed doors.