$ 100 billion T&A exports: Mission possible?

$ 100 billion T&A exports: Mission possible?

India’s export of textiles & apparels (T&A) has been stagnant at around $ 35 to 37 billion in the last few years and saw a major jump in 2021-22, due to pent up demand immediately after the second COVID wave. India scaled its highest ever exports tally at $ 44.4 billion in textiles and apparels, including handicrafts, in FY 2021-22, indicating a substantial increase of 41 per cent and 26 per cent over corresponding figures in FY 2020-21 and FY 2019-20, respectively.

While India is the world’s second largest textiles manufacturer (right after China), it ranks 6th in the global T&A trade with about 5 per cent share. Smaller countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam (who are dependent on imports of raw material for their textile industry) are ahead of India, which used to be the 2nd largest exporter of T&A in the world till 2017, in the global trade.

Though the government has set a target of $100 billion T&A exports (from present about $ 40 billion) over the next five years, there is an apprehension about reaching this ambitious goal. India has to address numerous issues before the country can improve its share in the global trade.

India has overwhelmingly relied on cotton for most of its textile products, when the world has moved on to man-made fibre (MMF) based products. The global MMF apparel export market size is $ 240 billion which forms 52 per cent of the total global apparel trade. India’s share in the global MMF apparel exports is mere 2 per cent. The challenge for India will be to bolster the development of a vibrant synthetic fibre sector while maintaining its dominance in cotton-based textile value chain. Though the challenge is not insurmountable, India still has a hill to climb.

At the moment, market is challenging due to the contraction in demand, geopolitical troubles (like the two major wars) and the Red Sea trouble for shipping of export goods. As a result, Indian textile industry is facing the issue of under-utilisation of capacity.

India will have to take many steps to achieve $ 100 billion export target. It will have to focus on enhancing competitiveness by adopting best manufacturing practices and strengthen the textile value chain with cluster approach. The industry needs to increase its focus on MMF based products and technical textiles – a sunrise sector. By embracing sustainability, circularity, and traceability practices, Indian companies can gain a manufacturing edge and emerge as the key supplier to global T&A brands.

Looking to the future, the industry’s success will be influenced by factors such as technological disruptions, changing consumer preferences, and geopolitical dynamics. Investments in R&D, skill enhancement, and strategic collaborations will be crucial for sustaining and enhancing India’s global competitiveness.

In this Annual Edition of The Indian Textile Journal (ITJ), experts shed light on how the Indian textile industry can overcome these challenges and work towards achieving the $ 100 billion export target.

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