Growth of garment and textile exports slowed significantly in the first seven months of 2008, state media reported. Exports rose 7.67% between January and July over the same period last year. In the first seven months of 2007, textile and garment exports rose by 24.4% year-on-year. Higher production costs and weak overseas demand are seen as contributing to the slowdown. Beijing recently raised a value-added tax rebate for garment exporters to 13% from 11% to improve profitability in the sector. China’s trade surplus for the first seven months of the year fell by 9.6%.