“According to figures from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, Thailand and Malaysia’s previous tariff rate on textile and apparel import from China averaged 21.5 per cent and 16.8 per cent, with the rate dropping to 16.9 per cent and 15 per cent from July 1, 2005. It will drop to 10.6 per cent and 9.2 per cent from Jan. 1, 2007 .The two countries will lower their tariff upon Chinese textile goods to zero in 2010, and the Philippines will reduce its textile tariff in a similar way, the chamber of commerce said .Indonesia, with its tariff rate against Chinese textile goods below 5 per cent, will directly lower it to zero in 2009 .Vietnam’s previous textile tariff rate was as high as 36.6 per cent, and it dropped to 31 per cent after July 1, 2005, and will drop to 27.2 per cent in 2006. It is expected to reach 26.6 per cent in 2007, 22.8 per cent in 2008, 19 per cent in 2009, 12.6 per cent in 2011, 5.8 per cent in 2013 and zero in 2015 .Beginning from July 2005, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand gave tariff cuts to each other on 7,455 kinds of commodities. The practice was launched in compliance with the Trade in Goods Agreement of a Framework Agreement for Overall Economic Cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries .By 2010, China and six old ASEAN member nations, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will impose zero tariffs on most normal products, while China and the other four new ASEAN members of Cambodia, the Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam will do the same in 2015 .The China-ASEAN FTA has a population of 1.8 billion and US$2 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is set to become the third largest global trading region after the European Union and the North American Free Trade Zone .During the January-November period of 2005, China exported textile and apparel worth US$5.08 billion to the ASEAN, growing 22.4 per cent year on year and accounting for 4.8 per cent of China’s total textile export .Meanwhile, China imported textile and apparel worth US$620 million from the ASEAN, growing 5.8 per cent year on year and making up 4 per cent of China’s total textile import .Due to frequent limitations from the United States and the European Union, Chinese textile exports still face difficulties when entering the two largest markets after the elimination of global textile quotas in 2005, according to insiders .The significant textile tariff reduction will not only expand Chinese exports to South East Asia, but also help them to enter Western countries through bypass means, insiders said .Source: Asiapulse, Austrialia .