Indian textile and garment industry comprises around 8000-10,000 garment exporters, and supplies. 20% of value addition in the manufacturing sector is contributed by textiles, with export earnings of more than 28%. Indian textile sector contributes to approximately 4% of GDP. Currently, the Government has declared that European Union (EU) is raising non-trade barriers against Indias textile and apparel exports. This has placed the apparel exporters in doldrums.

Will the EU ban Indian apparel exports?Earlier during 2008, EU and US, hit by recession had restricted its imports. Due to this, India, their primary exporter saw a decline in the export figures. Apparel exports were below potential due to shrinking demand in the major world markets. Later during 2009-10, an improvement was seen in the Western economies. Now, EU is restricting importing Indian textiles and apparels through non tariff barriers.

There is always an environmental impact in the production of textiles starting from the usage of pesticides for cultivation of natural fibres, till the completion of a garment. Till apparel reaches its final stage of production, numerous chemicals are being used. EU has banned the import of apparels into the country which contains chemicals that are proved to have serious effect on the environment.

Clothes with these chemicals when washed discharge harmful substances into the water system, thereby polluting the environment. EU has banned the production of these chemicals, and has also restricted clothes being imported into the country, which has these chemicals on them. The textile products entering into the EU market are subject to security and consumer protection requirements identical to those for the textile products manufactured inside the EU.

The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Jyotiraditya Scindia, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha states that, EU has been raising protective barriers against textiles and garments exports from India through non-tariff barriers such as labeling, certification and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances).

Textile and apparel exports from India are mainly done through developed countries such as US, EU, Japan, and UAE. US and EU comprise about three fourth of the total exports market for Indian apparels.