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Indian apparel exports to touch $17 billion: AEPC

NEW YORK: The Indian apparel industry is witnessing an upswing and the exports are likely to go up from $13 billion last year to $17 billion in the next two years on the back of economic recovery in the US and Europe, according to Apparel Export Promotion Council. 

"Indian apparel exports have picked up in the last six months compared to negative growth in the previous two years," A Sakthivel, Chairman of 
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), told PTI on the sidelines of the Buyer-Seller meet inaugurated by Indian Consul General in New York Dnyaneshwar Mulay at Penn Plaza Pavilion in Manhattan. 

About 30 apparel manufacturers from across India are showcasing their readymade garments to American buyers at a two-day Fashion Buyer-Seller Meet, which began on Wednesday. The event is being organised by 
AEPC of the Ministry of Textiles in New York. 

The orders that went to neighbouring countries came to India due to industry compliance issues in those nations, resulting into huge business, he said. 

"The Indian apparel industry is compliance-oriented and we follow all the rules of the game. The atmosphere looks good now and these factors have helped a lot besides depreciation of 
rupee that is helping the industry to a certain extent," Sakthivel said. 

At the same time, the manufacturing cost is also going up simultaneously due to the depreciation of rupee, he said. 

The coming years will be a boom period for the Indian apparel manufacturers amid the industry growing by 14 per cent till August this year, AEPC chairman said. 

On competition from China, he said Beijing is one of the biggest competitors for India but the cost of manufacturing has gone up over the years in that country. 

"We also see a shift in workers interest who does not want to stick to the garment industry. Labourers are moving away from the garment industry to sectors like IT. All these factors are pushing up the cost of the final product. 

"India is known for value added exports like embroidery sequence and especially ladies wear. The country has always been a key player in cotton apparel exports. The neighboring countries are not very competitive in this segment, he said. 

Besides, traditional centres like Tirupur and Jaipur, units in Delhi, Noida, Ludhiana, Bengaluru and Chennai are doing well. The units in Mumbai are moving towards South especially to Bengaluru due to high cost. 

Sakthivel, also a prominent exporter from Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, said Tirupur has seen increase in exports to the tune of 15 per cent in the last six months and the city's USP still remains knit wear, which is being sold to all the major retail stores and outlets in the US and Europe.