The continuing ‘bra wars’ with China and the European Union could cause “severe economic pain” and increase clothes prices, EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has warned.

Speaking to MEPs yesterday, Mandelson said that if the estimated 80 million items of clothing which are being held in EU ports are not released there would be “severe economic pain for many smaller retailers and medium-sized businesses.”

“It could mean some shortages during the autumn but, even more likely, higher consumer prices for many of our citizens who cannot afford to pay for clothes,” he added.