Indo-Japan EPA in textile sector may be implemented in 2011
Mr Atul Parekh
For the first time ever, a Japanese textile delegation was in Mumbai to solicit Indian apparel manufacturers and retailers for their high-end fabrics produced in Japan, like suede, silk-denim, organic lace, crepe, coated lace and wool-polyester blends.
This conference was organised, from the Japanese side, on the initiative of Mr Atul Parekh, an Indian entrepreneur and President - Infinity Creations, based in Tokyo since over 30 years with Mr Rahul Mehta, President of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) from the Indian side, as a pioneering project under the Japan-India Fashion Forum (JIFF).
The Japanese delegation was led by Mr Takakazu Kitatani, Director - International Textile and Clothing Trade Office - Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and included, Mr Yoshiaki Kamiyama, Chief Research Analyst - The Japan Textile Importers Association (JTIA), Ms Akiko Shinoda, Director - International Affairs - Japan Fashion Week Organization (JFWO), Ms. Sachiko Inoue- Director, Japan Creation Trend Committee and others.
Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively to Mr Atul Parekh on the sidelines of the conference. Giving details about the initiative, he informed, “The areas of cooperation between India and Japan in the textile, clothing and fashion sector are immense. The Indian market is evolving and Japan needs a market like India. While speaking to Japanese entrepreneurs in the sector, I came to know that there is a huge interest in the Indian market, but most are not aware of the ways and means of penetrating the Indian markets effectively.
“This is the main reason, why we started the initiative of introducing textile manufacturers, clothing producers and fashion designers under a common platform, called the Japan-India Fashion Forum. Under the forum, we are organizing events to create awareness and interaction as well as media publicity. It helps to involve everyone across the textile value-chain in both the countries, like the one we are holding now”.
When asked to comment on the news that the Japanese textile and clothing importers want to reduce their reliance on the Chinese, he replied by saying, “The fact is that, Japan is heavily dependent on the Chinese for their textile and apparel requirements and almost 80 percent of the imports from the sector are from China. The Japanese have realized the need to look at other markets as well and now want to spread their sourcing to other countries”.
China's share in Japanese textile and garment imports has steadily grown from 68.2 percent in 2000 and touched 79.5 percent in 2009. When asked as to how they were able to gain this gigantic market share in the first place and have also been able to increase it steadily, he informed by saying, “There are a huge number of joint ventures (JVs) which the Chinese have initiated with the Japanese and other countries.
“The numbers of the JVs rose more so, when costs became very high back home, due to which, the Chinese were the first choice due to cultural and geographical reasons. Secondly, Japanese trading companies were well accepted in China. India on the other hand, over the last ten years has been evolving and there were practical difficulties in investing in India, which made China attractive to Japanese companies. The first flow of Japanese investments in to China set the tone for the rest to follow”.