To attract foreign direct investment

Arushi Sen

"We are trying to expand our exports to South East Asia and Latin American countries as well."

Mumbai, July 20

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) wants to promote India as a brand to encourage foreign direct investment.

"At present, there is no FDI in this industry. In order to attract FDI, we plan on organising road shows in various countries like Italy, France and Japan. These road shows should start by the end of this year," said Mr Vijay Agarwal, Chairman, AEPC.

Apparel exports have been showing steady growth since the dismantling of quotas last year. In 2005-06, exports rose about 24 per cent, from $6.2 billion to $8.2 billion.

"The target is to reach $15 billion exports by 2010. We will need about Rs 30,000 crore to reach this target. For this, FDI will have to be attracted," said Mr Agarwal.

A major chunk of exports go to the US and Canada. "We are trying to expand our exports to South East Asia and Latin American countries as well. For this, we have sent special invites to buyers and are planning on taking special delegations to these countries as well. We believe that there is big potential in this market," said Mr Agarwal.

Textile exports account for 30 per cent of all exports, of which 50 per cent comprises apparel exports.

As part of AEPC's efforts to encourage apparel exports, it organises the India International Garment Fair (IIGF) twice a year.

The IIGF is being held from July 18-20 in New Delhi with 395 participants.

"The purpose is to expose India's small and medium size manufacturers. It also gives a chance to foreign buyers to do their shopping. We expect about Rs 150 crore business on the spot and about Rs 500 crore business that will follow," said Mr Agarwal. When asked about competition from China, Mr Agarwal said that he did not think India's growth would be hampered by China's growth.

He said that China will always remain a competitor but India has certain advantages such as abundance of labour, innovation and design skill, and the ability to adapt.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 21, 2006)
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