PORTUGAL: Industry to face job losses in post quota regime

With the abolition of the quota regime this year-end the over 100 000 jobs in country's textile industry is on stake, said the head of the country's textile association head.

The president of the Portuguese Association of Textile and Clothing Manufacturers of Portugal, Paulo Nunes de Almeida, told Portuguese radio the job losses will result from increased competition from lower-wage China when the quota system expires.

"Various scenarios have been studied and they all point towards a reduction in the number of firms and jobs in the sector," he told Radio.

Asked if the impact of the job losses would total 100 000 as suggested by some industry studies, he said: "If measures are not taken at a global scale to put the brakes on this export impetus from China I think it could surpass that number."

De Almeida suggested that nations be allowed to keep some quotas in place to protect them against the expected surge of Chinese imports next year when worldwide quotas are removed.

The end of the quota is raising fears in the United States and many European nations that jobs will be lost to larger, low-cost textile-producing countries such as China or India.

Portugal's textile industry, concentrated in the industrialized north, accounts for roughly 18 percent of exports and some six percent of all jobs, mostly producing clothes for big-name foreign labels at low cost, economy ministry figures show.

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Added: October 29, 2004 Source: Agencies
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