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Chinese apparel industry is overheating - Mr Udani, AEPC
Oct '10
The mood was clearly upbeat when representatives of major companies importing apparel worth 2.5 billion dollars annually from India were face-to-face with textile secretary Rita Menon recently.

At an interactive meet hosted by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), chairman Premal Udani said Chinese apparel industry is overheating with strikes and production delays. “If we can bring 10 per cent of their business, Indian apparel exports will double to 20 billion dollars in coming years.”

Vice-president of Li & Fung, Deepika Rana said the government must take steps to control upward spiraling cotton prices. In Bangladesh, she said, the prices are 40 per cent cheaper than in India. Ms Rana said Bangladesh – which competes with India in apparel exports – factories have huge capacities and there is no currency appreciation.

Mr Rajiv Suri, chairman of Impulse India, said India has a great bunch of entrepreneurs but the industry needs partnership with the government so that policies can be aligned with those in competing countries. Mr Yogesh Khurana, vice-president and general manager for Gap International Sourcing, said India faces increasing competition from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The country should build speed in delivery systems, he said.

Ms Linda Johansson, manager for H & M's merchandising team and code of conduct, said Indian exporters must spread awareness on compliance issues rather than blaming the western media for unwanted propaganda. Mr Trip Wood, managing director of Target Sourcing Services, also said that Indian companies need to focus on social compliance. Besides, he said, first-line managers need to be trained as they are often unable to deal with small problems.

Ms Mary Cunningham, managing director of William E Conner, said India has a big opportunity vis-à-vis China but price factor is a major concern. Mr Jatin Gandhi, senior manager of The Children's Place, said efficiencies must improve to beat competition. Mr Mathieu Brousse, sourcing director for Carrefour's south Asia division, said complying with globally-accepted norms will lead to efficiencies.

Textile secretary Rita Menon said India will diplomatically take up with China to solve the imbalance in global demand and production of cotton in the new season. But models of excellence must evolve to improve productivity.

“The AEPC's Common Compliance Code is moving in the right direction and will outshine those in neighbouring countries,” said Ms Menon adding there is no bonded labour in India as alleged by some western nations. She added that AEPC's skill development programmes across the country will lead to productive business processes.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC)

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