Mexico will defend its domestic industry once compensatory quotas imposed since 1993 on 204 Chinese-imported products expire in December, Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said in an interview with Efe.

Ferrari said that while Mexico must comply with its international obligations, authorities will remain on guard for potential future "unfair practices" by China and could impose other compensatory measures in response.

Although Mexican quotas on about 750 Chinese-imported products expired in 2008, the two countries signed an agreement that same year establishing a transition period for some particularly sensitive imported goods.

That accord gave Mexican industrial sectors until December 2011 to prepare for the elimination of compensatory quotas for products such as textiles, apparel, footwear, toys, bicycles, strollers, tools, appliances, electrical machines and apparatuses, lighters, pencils, valves, ballasts (components in fluorescent lamps), locks, candles and other items.

The sector expressing the most concern over the imminent end to the quotas has been Mexico's powerful footwear industry, primarily based in Leon, a city in the central state of Guanajuato.

Earlier this month, representatives of that sector said they were mobilizing over the end of the compensatory quotas.

The footwear industry is "very important to us; it creates a lot of jobs. We're very close to them and we're going to continue (taking action) to support them," Ferrari said.

The economy ministry has been holding bimonthly meetings with representatives of the footwear industry "to see precisely how to do it properly without violating international conventions we've signed," he said.

Mexico and China have been ensnared in various trade disputes over the years. In some instances, Mexico has taken the spats to the World Trade Organization even though the giant Asian nation is Mexico's second-biggest trade partner.

Mexican authorities also complain about the asymmetry in the country's trade relations with China.

According to Mexican authorities, imports from China in 2010 were valued at $45.6 billion, while exports to the Asian nation amounted to just $4.2 billion.