Knitwear exporters in Tirupur are upbeat about the sectors prospects in 2013 and beyond.

“The year started off pretty well. The market has been good since January. In the coming year, we foresee a 10 per cent growth in business even if no Free Trade Agreement is inked. If this happens, we sure will grow by 25 per cent,” said the President of Tirupur Exporters’ Association A. Sakthivel.

(Knitwear exports have hovered around Rs 12,500 crore for nearly three years now). Exporters expect this to grow by at least 10 per cent this year.

“We are witnessing a change in every link of the supply chain including the buying offices. As China slowly but surely reduces its hold on the global garment trade, some buying offices seem to be preparing themselves in advance by opening offices in India. The challenge now would be in getting the share of business which is being diverted from China,” the TEA President said.

Non-traditional markets

On the global front, exporters have started eyeing non-traditional markets such as South America, South Africa, Israel and Japan among other countries to grow their business.

“The path of recovery is gaining momentum. Diversification of destination is the need of the hour. We have for many years now concentrated only on the US and the UK markets. It probably has been our biggest mistake,” observed Sakthivel.

Sharing his strategy to boost export growth prospects, Sakthivel, as Chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council said that the council has decided to take delegations to different global markets every other month, participate in international trade fairs and facilitate buyer-seller meets.

“For instance, we plan to take a delegation to Australia and Israel in November 2013. The market is untapped and huge,” he added.

Scope for growth

Besides eyeing newer markets, exporters also foresee huge prospects for growth in India itself. “With multi-national companies such as WalMart and Marks and Spencer eyeing the India market, existing exporters who are servicing such MNCs, can start looking at the domestic market,” he said, adding “2013 -14 is going to be a great year for Tirupur. There’s going to be no looking back from now on.”

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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