The Italy – India partnership has progressed many folds

The Italy – India partnership has progressed many folds

The ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency is the government organisation which promotes the internationalisation of the Italian companies, in line with the strategies of the Ministry for Economic Development. ICE provides information, support and advice to Italian and foreign companies. Antonietta Baccanari, Trade Commissioner, Italian Trade Agency, discusses the present state of trade relations between India and Italy regarding textiles and offers insights on enhancing the bilateral trade relationship in an interview with Divya Shetty.

How has the Indo-Italian trade relationship in the field of textiles grown over the years? How have players in the textile value chain of the two countries mutually benefited from this relationship?

Over the years, the Indo-Italian trade relationship in textiles has experienced significant growth, benefitting players in the textile value chain of both countries. According to trade data from the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, Italy accounts for 7 per cent of India’s total textile machine imports. Machine imports from Italy have surged by over 228 per cent from 2020 to 2023, indicating a deepening commitment and partnership with Italian companies. The textile sector plays a pivotal role in shaping India’s economic landscape and influencing global trade dynamics. India holds a 4.6 per cent share of the global trade in textiles and apparel and is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of textiles and apparel. Bridging Italian technology with Indian craftsmanship creates synergies that benefit both nations.

Could you highlight any emerging trends or innovations within the Italian textile sector that have the potential to impact bilateral trade with India?

The Italy – India partnership has progressed many folds, in our recently concluded delegation of textile machinery companies who had visited India delved into discussions regarding the digitalisation of the textile machinery sector and its potential collaboration with the Indian counterparts and it’s also worth noting that we are already beginning to integrate AI into our working strategies and production systems, marking a significant step forward in our approach to innovation.
The enthusiasm displayed by Indian companies towards adopting new technological solutions, particularly AI, underscores the immense opportunities that lie ahead in this vibrant market fostering collaboration between Italy and India in the technological advancements is paramount.

What are the main challenges or barriers hindering the expansion of textile trade between Italy and India, and what strategies are being implemented to overcome these obstacles?

The on-going war situation has affected the textile machinery value chain, particularly raw material components and energy supply, impacting production systems initially. However, these obstacles present opportunities for companies to expand their value chain,  and more or less it is aligned and in broadening the  value chain will help fulfil more orders for the partners in India and worldwide. 

In light of increasing emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing in the global textile industry, how are Italian and Indian stakeholders working together to address these concerns and promote responsible trade practices?

I am pleased to share that our Italian Textile Machinery Association (ACIMIT) has launched the Sustainable Technologies project to increase the commitment of Italian textile machinery manufacturers to invest in sustainability. The GREEN LABEL document identifies and makes easily understandable the energy and environmental performance of textile machines, promoting sustainable technological solutions. This initiative aligns with the Government of India’s commitment to sustainable sourcing, meeting evolving global consumer preferences.

India has set a target to increase its exports of textile products to $ 100 billion in the next 4-5 years. How can the Italian textile industry help them in this journey?

India’s target to increase textile exports to $100 billion in the next 4-5 years presents an opportunity for the Italian textile industry to contribute. India is the third most important export market for Italy in textile machinery, with many companies having branches and service centres in the country. Eliminating customs duties will make Italian textile machinery more accessible to Indian customers, supporting the expansion of the Indian textile industry. Direct investments will further expand capacities in India, strengthening bilateral trade relations between the two nations.

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