Times change! Be it good times or bad, they never last. Situations change with time. Monarchy had to end at one point of time. Colonialism came to be abolished at another point of time. Similarly, the current scenario of the global textile industry may change sometime or the other. Things may not remain as it is 100 years down the line. Importers may become exporters and exporters may become importers. Decisions taken by a single country may affect the entire textile value chain. It may also affect the overall economies of many countries. Good or bad trade relations between two countries may also influence the global textile industry to a certain extent.
China is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was recorded to be 7.8 percent in the year 2012. Its textile industry is one of the largest textile industries of the world. The country exported textiles worth $20.44 billion and garments worth $29.57 billion in the first quarter of 2012. The country earns considerable revenue with the help of its textile industry. This industry is one of the major factors accelerating its growth. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (a reputed accounting firm) and US Council on Competitiveness rated China as the most competitive manufacturing market of the world. Very few countries can match up to the level of China in the global textile industry.
India is an almost equally competitive market when it comes to textiles. The country has a well developed textile industry. It exported around 128.81 lakh bales of cotton in the year 2011 to 2012. India is the second largest producer of cotton in the world. India also exports jute and silk in large quantities. Textile industry has a huge role to play in the overall economic growth of the country. It has a vast reserve of natural resources and skilled labor. It attracts immense foreign investment on yearly basis. Indian textile industry walks hand in hand with the Chinese textile industry. Both the countries share a unique and diplomatic relationship.
As far as the current scenario is concerned, Chinese textile industry is far more advanced than the Indian textile industry. China has always remained under the watchful eyes of the western countries. But it has succeeded in maintaining a steady growth. Indian textile industry has still not reached up to the level that the Chinese textile industry holds in the world market. But it is gradually making its way to attain that position in the international market. Both the countries serve as markets for each other at a certain point of time. They are competitors as such on the international level. But this competition, from the looks of it, is pretty healthy!
The people in China have developed a command over making efficient textile machineries. They have a huge market for it in India. Textile manufacturers import new as well as used textile machineries from countries like China in large quantities. Chinas total exports to India came to around $39.3 billion in the first ten months of 2012. Majority of it was for machineries. India too exports a large chunk of its textile products to China. Cotton yarn exports from India to China rose by more than 100 percent as noticed in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2012. It became 9.4 million kg. Both the countries share a good trade relationship in terms of textile.
Political relationship between any two countries does not normally affect its trade relations. But it can play a role to some extent in the overall export and import value. India-China political relations have remained diplomatic as till now. A serious war took place between the two countries in the past. But the two countries have risen above this war with passage of time and established diplomatic relations for the betterment of its own. Though political issues still prevail to a certain extent, trade relations between the two countries are completely fine. India serves as a big market for Chinese textile products in terms of technology and reverse is the case in terms of raw materials.
International media houses claim that China does not see India as a major threat, but India may be a bit worried about the rising power of China. This may not be entirely true, at least for the textile industries of the two countries. Both the countries compete with each other on a certain level. When India took the controversial measure to ban cotton exports in 2012, China protested against this measure immensely. This was because the rule was hurting the textile industries of China. The same is true vice-versa. Trade with the textile traders of China is important for Indian textile importers and exporters.
Besides, political relations between the two countries have also remained questionable. The border issues between the two countries have still remained unresolved. To add to the same, political relations between China and the political rival of India, Pakistan has remained friendly throughout. Textile trade between China and Pakistan is also growing steadily. Exports from Pakistan to China have been increasing by around 10 percent per annum. Almost 80 percent of the total export from Pakistan to China consists of textile products.
It is a widely believed fact among economists that a booming textile industry is the initial stage of a progressing country. As the economy of any country develops, it gets over textiles and concentrates on other sectors that yield higher profits. China ruled the global textile industry for almost two decades. India, too, was a major player, but China was one step ahead in textiles. But as economists suggest, China is entering that stage of development wherein its textile production is gradually decreasing. Media reports and expert opinions indicate that it is only concentrating on manufacturing high value items like textile machineries and gaining an edge over the rest in this regards. Low value products may not interest the same.
Reports suggest that the Indian textile industry may benefit out of this situation. India is already getting more orders from the international market. Indian cotton yarn export orders and home textile export orders have increased considerably. The country is facing competition from its neighbors like Bangladesh and Myanmar. Still, the situation may remain favorable for India. Indian exporters expect to export textile products worth US$ 18 billion in the fiscal year 2013-14. The current situation of the Chinese textile industry has also been kept in mind.
India and China are two of the fastest growing economies of the world. Their textile industry, in particular, exerts immense influence on the global textile industry. Their relationship affects the global textile industry, as well. The political as well as trade relations between India and China affects the buying and selling decisions of many textile traders all over the world to a certain extent. They are competitors, but the two also have good trade relations.
Each one of them may find it hard to grow without the other. One cannot make out which of the two is dependent on the other in terms of textile trade. They have their own role to play in the global textile industry.