Bo said that the sector’s development has also increased China’s imports of raw materials and production equipment. Last year, China imported cotton, textile production equipment and other relevant raw materials worth 23.5 bln usd.He said that China’s demand for production equipment at present stands at about eight bln usd, accounting for nearly 30 pct of the global market. China is expected to import about four mln tons of cotton by 2010, he said.’China has reached agreements with other developing countries over textile exports, which will provide a favorable future environment for China’s textile exports,’ Bo said. The minister also expressed confidence over China’s textile exports this year despite trade friction, rising material prices and energy bottlenecks. ‘China’s production capacity was released by globalization in the textile industry. Last year, China signed an agreement with US and EU. All provided China with a good export environment,’ Bo said on the sidelines of the conference. ‘China’s textile exports are expected to see steady growth, and China will keep its No.1 position this year,’ he said. China and the EU reached a deal in June last year, agreeing to textiles exports growth rates of 8-12.5 pct for Chinese textile products until 2007. Later, in November, China and the US agreed to limit exports of Chinese textile products in 21 categories to growth rates of 10-17 pct from 2006-2008. Since the scrapping of global textile quotas at the beginning of this year, China’s textile exports to the US and EU have surged, triggering trade frictions. The European Commission several days ago decided to impose temporary anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes from April 7. Bo refused to comment on the issue when asked about the matter on the sidelines of the forum. Bo said China should increase its investment in research and development to push the sector’s technology innovations. He said it is necessary to strengthen intellectual property rights and develop China’s own brands. The government will help domestic producers to invest overseas and to set up research and development centres, production facilities and sales networks, he said. Bo added that China will set up overseas economic and trade co-operation zones soon, to promote co-operation with more developing countries .Source: Forbes.com.