Officials from the European Union and Brazil on Wednesday agreed a deal to free up textile trade by opening their markets for each other’s textile and apparel goods.

The deal will see the EU ditch quotas on 10 apparel and textile products from Brazil, ranging from trousers and T-shirts to cotton and synthetic fabrics.

Brazil will reciprocate by limiting tariffs to a maximum of 20 per cent and refrain from applying any additional taxes on EU textile and clothing exports.

Both countries also committed themselves to dismantling all tariffs on textiles and clothing in the continuing discussions between the EU and Mercosur countries: Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

The European Commission said Brazil’s clothing and textiles exports to the EU in 2001 were 239 million euros while EU exports to the Latin American nation were 243 million euros.

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: “This agreement is a clear sign that the EU is ready to anticipate opening up its textile market ahead of the WTO deadline of 2005, provided its trading partners are ready to provide better access to their markets.

“The elimination of trade barriers in textiles is also a contribution to the on-going EU-Mercosur negotiations bringing progress in the roadmap we agreed during our ministerial meeting in July.”