Even as Indian apparel exporters are trying to expand in new markets with diversified products, the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) says it would not be easy for the sector to achieve the US$ 18 billion apparel export target set for the current fiscal by the Textile Ministry.
AEPC Chairman A Shaktivel said the contraction in exports to the EU would hold back Indian exporters from achieving the US$ 18 billion export target.
EU accounts for 50 percent of India’s apparel exports, while the US and other countries have a 26 percent and 24 percent share, respectively.
During the first five months of the current year, India’s apparel exports slumped 12 percent to US$ 5.26 billion.
However, the Council is optimistic of achieving US$ 16.5-17 billion levels in exports during current fiscal, Mr. Shaktivel said.
He said owing to business downtrend in EU, Indian apparel exports to that market would decline by 10 percent and hence exporters should focus more on the US and other markets.
As a part of their efforts to explore new markets with varied products, AEPC delegations visited countries like Japan, South Africa and Israel, which predominantly sourced their apparel requirements, around 90-98 percent from China, and around 0.5-1 percent from India, Mr. Shaktivel said.
He added that they have met good response from these markets, following which they even plan to send delegations to Panama, Russia and Columbia, where they eye great potential for promoting diverse apparel ranges.
On allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in India and its effect on the domestic apparel industry, the AEPC chief said though small traders would be hit by this, on a wider scale it would prove advantageous for the sector, as more orders would flow from major international players, following a rise in their demand.
AEPC is also trying to convince the Textiles Minister Anand Sharma regarding the need for inking a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, to enable Indian producers better compete with other rival countries like Bangladesh, which enjoys 10 percent duty benefit owing to such agreement, he said.