The newly released five-year development plan for the textile
industry rightly points out the direction of its growth.
It requires textile manufacturers to improve their ability to
innovate, develop high-tech products and those with higher added
value, and promote branding.
The plan, drawn up by the National Development and Reform
Commission, the China National Textile Industry Council and local
government agencies, marks a much-needed shift of focus from
quantity to quality in our textile development policies.
The elimination of global quotas on textile product exports has
facilitated China's textile exports since early last year. Its
textile exports accounted for 25 percent of the global total last
year, 10 percentage points higher than five years ago.
According to the new development plan, by 2010, China's textile
exports are expected to increase by over 50 percent compared to
But against the backdrop of these soaring exports is the low
technological level of the domestic textile industry.
We mostly manufacture low-end products. The large production
volume may help us grab a slice of the overseas market, but it also
brings trade frictions.
US and European textile producers have been filing complaints
about overseas competitors, including Chinese manufacturers. The
Western manufacturers are beset with problems related to high
labour costs, industrial upgrading and restructuring.
It is irrational and violates fair trade rules for them to lobby
policy-makers to impose restrictions, mainly anti-dumping charges
or safeguard measures, on textile imports from China.
Nevertheless, a new development strategy is badly needed for our
Trade frictions aside, an inability to mass-produce high-end
products would undermine the long-term sustainability of the
domestic textile industry.
Now that the domestic labour costs and raw material prices are
rising, the renminbi has appreciated and the tax rebate for textile
exports may be further cut, domestic manufacturers must adopt an
innovation-oriented strategy if they want to survive and stand out
from the competition.
To that end, technological improvement must be promoted and more
attention must be paid to branding, a field that can create huge
added value but has been largely shunned by domestic manufacturers
as they can make quick profits through the mass production of
The State now needs to issue follow-up measures that will make
this plan truly innovation-centered.
This ambitious blueprint will not play its due role without such
(China Daily June 29, 2006)