NEW YORK — As U.S. imports of Chinese apparel and textiles continue to skyrocket — up a combined 65.4 percent in the first quarter — it’s becoming increasingly clear that the world’s most populous country is going to be in a position to dominate global apparel manufacturing even further when quotas are lifted in 2005.

China’s growth, which represented more than a third of the overall increase in U.S. imports in the first three months of the year, has come at the expense of dozens of developing countries that rely heavy on apparel exports to earn foreign currency. That trend has some industry executives starting to wonder what will happen to economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia in 2005 if they can no longer compete in the garment industry, which, for a few decades, has been a prime route to industrialization.

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