GENEVA — China emerged as the big winner in the first year since global quotas were lifted, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the increase in Asian textile and apparel exports to the U.S. and European Union, a United Nations report revealed.

In 2005, the value of China’s exports to the U.S. and EU increased by $15.2 billion to reach $48.3 billion. Overall, exports by the 12 Asian exporters examined increased by $17.8 billion to $92 billion.

The U.N.’s “Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, 2006” shows there were “winners and losers” and notes the outcome in some countries “has not been as bad as had been feared.”

Hafiz Pasha, director of the regional bureau of the U.N. Development Program, said the end of quotas has increased competitive pressures in the industry, but has also intensified downward pressures on wages.

The report concludes that Asian producers on balance did better than their competitors in other regions and managed to increase their share of exports to the world’s two most lucrative markets, the U.S. and EU. But it also states the gains were “unequally shared,” with China and India the main winners, and Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan the big losers.

However, countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which formerly relied heavily on the quota regime, were able to maintain or increase their market share into the U.S. and EU, the report said. Overall, the 12 Asian producers increased their market share in 2005 to the U.S. by 8.4 percent and to the EU by 6 percent, the report said.

This story first appeared in the July 11, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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