China's export of textiles and garments fell 11 percent year-on-year to $81.68 billion in the first half of this year, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) reported on Thursday.
Industry watchers attributed the decline to the migration of textile and garment production from China to cheaper neighboring countries and a consumption crunch sparked by the ongoing credit crisis that originated in the United States last year.
Other factors, including a stronger Chinese currency and mounting labor and material costs, have left textile makers, once an export engine, in a tough spot.
The number of US buyers fell 23.3 percent year-on-year at this year's 103rd Canton Fair, or the China Import and Export Fair held in south China's Guangdong, while those from France and Germany were down 11.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.
The GACC said in a report that the country should monitor the shift of production to other countries and evaluate what part higher labor costs played in that movement.
It also called on the country's central and western regions to play a bigger role in boosting the industry.
Increasing cost pressures had resulted in a production transfer from the economically prosperous eastern region to the central and western regions where labor and production costs were comparatively lower, the China National Garment Association said earlier this week.
(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2008)