India can become a one-stop sourcing destination for textiles for brands, retailers from ASEAN, says Smriti Irani

New Delhi: India has potential to become the one-stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers from ASEAN as opportunities exist for textile manufacturers from the 10-nation bloc to invest here and cater to the domestic market as well as exports, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said on Tuesday.

Addressing a conference, the minister said India has strengths in production and exports of almost all kinds of textiles and apparel including all handloom and handicraft products that demonstrate the unique skills of the country's weavers and artisans.

"In the year 2016, India exported textiles and apparel worth $1,203 million to ASEAN and imported textiles and apparel worth $546 million from ASEAN," Irani said, adding that this is just a monetary testimonial to how we can go forward. "With ability to produce a diverse range of products, India has the potential to become the one-stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers of ASEAN nations," the minister highlighted.

She said there exists an opportunity for India to attract textile manufacturers of ASEAN nations to invest in manufacturing in India to cater to both domestic market within the country and the export markets across the world. "I am hopeful that this is just one of the many areas where we can participate and leverage our strengths," Irani observed.

File image of Union minister Smriti Irani. PTI

File image of Union minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Addressing a seminar on India-ASEAN Weaving Textiles Relations', Irani said she is hopeful that the programme is the beginning of a new era in the textiles sector. "A new friendship (referring to India-ASEAN relations) that we can forge to ensure that we give better manufacturing opportunities, better wage opportunities and also help strengthen our legacies in the handloom and handicraft sectors," said the minister.

ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a multilateral body whose member countries include Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Earlier during his address, Textiles Secretary Anant Kumar Singh pointed out that India was strong and competitive across the entire value chain starting from raw materials to finished products. "With a strong multi-fibre base and an abundant supply of raw materials like cotton, wool, silk, jute and man-made fibres, India enjoyed a distinct advantage of backward integration which many countries do not possess," Singh said.

However, the textiles secretary observed that despite the operation of the free trade agreement in goods with the ASEAN, India's exports of textiles and apparels to ASEAN have virtually been constant in the last few years and have not shown much traction. "Though India has the unique advantage of having the presence of the entire textile value chain, its most exported items to ASEAN consisting of cotton fibre, cotton yarn and fabrics have not grown to the desired extent. This makes it evident that we have not been able to explore and leverage the strengths of our textiles industry to the fullest," he noted.

He stressed upon the need for a robust framework for export of textiles and apparels between the two sides to give a fillip to trade. Singh said ASEAN countries have a unique position in the regional value chains and offer a gateway for market access to China, North East Asia and the EU for India through their various trade agreements.

Updated Date: Jan 24, 2018 12:53 PM

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