The pact, which requires a two-thirds majority vote, could be approved today There was growing confidence last night that European Union member states would ratify a textile deal with China - possibly today - although parts of the EU textile industry strongly opposed it. The EU members began meeting in Brussels yesterday to consider the agreement struck between EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai in Beijing on Monday. It needs the votes of a two-thirds majority of the 25 EU member states to pass. There are an estimated 87.5 million items of Chinese textiles and garments blocked by EU customs because they exceeded this year's quota limits agreed on June 10. If the agreement was ratified this week, the unblocking of the textiles would begin next week, Reuters quoted an EU spokesperson as saying, adding: 'The first signals we have received from member states appear to be positive.' Even France, which previously objected to Mr Mandelson's earlier proposed solutions, was said to 'support in principle' Monday's agreement. However, Filiep Libeert, president of Euratex, a European textile industry group, voiced 'serious disappointment and disquiet' at the agreement. 'The purpose of the June agreement was to place limits in 2005, 2006 and 2007 on Chinese exports in 10 product categories. Today, we see China being gifted additional volumes, which, for example, double the quantities available in 2005 in respect of pullovers,' he said. 'Industry in Europe will pay the price in company closures and job losses if this deal is endorsed by member states.' Under Monday's agreement, half of the 87.5 million embargoed Chinese textile products would not be counted against the limits of the Sino-EU agreement of June 10, said , Euratex economic affairs director Francesco Marchi said, citing EU officials. The other half would be counted against next year's quotas for pullovers, brassieres and trousers, as well as this year's quota for cotton fabric, he added. To prevent the same problem occurring, China would be allowed to borrow quota next year from 2007 as well as fill up underused quota categories, Mr Marchi said. On June 10, Mr Mandelson and Mr Bo struck an agreement that placed limits on 10 Chinese textile products for export to the EU from June 11 to the end of 2007 to assuage EU industry alarmed at the surge of Chinese textile exports since global textile quotas ended on January 1. In less than three months, seven of the 10 quotas for this year were filled. Netherlands trade association Modint was already suing the Dutch government to recoup damages on behalf of 40 retailers, the Daily Telegraph reported. Monday's agreement would solve the pressing problem of EU retailers this year but hurt China next year, BKMS Trading owner Douglas Sheridan said. 'EU retailers will place a lot less orders in China next year. There will be a weeding out of the smaller Chinese textile factories,' Mr Sheridan said.