Indian textile & apparel exports drop 7.6% between 2018 & 2023

Indian textile & apparel exports drop 7.6% between 2018 & 2023

India’s textiles and apparel exports have stagnated and dropped over the last five years by 7.6 percent to US $34.24 billion in calendar year 2023 from $37.16 billion in 2018.

“On the other hand, China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam dominate global garments trade,” a report titled ‘Regaining textile glory’ by Global Trade and Research Initiative said.

In the same five-year period, India’s textile and clothing imports increased 25.46 percent to $9.18 billion in 2023 as against $7.32 billion in 2018, which indicates a domestic demand unmet by local production.

The report pointed out steps that could help improve the competitiveness of Indian textiles and garments including promoting the production and export of synthetic apparel.

They also include strengthening the weaving and fabric processing sectors, simplifying fabric supplies/imports, negotiating non-tariff barriers in FTAs, and making more factories fast fashion industry (FFI) compliant.

The report added that in 2023, India’s apparel overseas shipments totaled just $14.5 billion as against China at $114 billion, and Bangladesh at $43.8 billion.

“This shows India significantly trails behind China and is also falling behind smaller countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam,” the report added.

“From 2013 to 2023, Bangladesh’s garment exports grew by 69.6 percent, Vietnam’s by 81.6 percent, but India’s grew by only 4.6 percent. Globalization has significantly affected the garment industry by increasing competition and moving production to lower-cost labor countries,” the report observed.

Garments made from synthetic fibres or synthetic fibres blended with cotton are in demand in developed countries. But its share in Indian exports was less than 40 percent.

“This is the key reason for India’s weak garment exports. Today, most formal, sports, and fashion wear uses synthetic fabrics,” the report noted.

The report suggested diversifying into synthetics would allow Indian manufacturers to run their factories the whole year as there would be demand in the autumn and winter too.

Indian exporters also need to keep up with the fast-paced demands of the fast fashion industry, which includes Walmart, Zara, H&M, Gap, and online retailers like Amazon and Zalando.

Other suggestions include negotiating non tariff barriers in proposed FTAs with countries like the UK and EU and also relaxing labor laws to encourage the setting up of large factories.




Indian Apparel.