India being the largest producer of cotton and jute and the second largest producer of man-made fibre has the potential to act as a reliable sourcing partner for ASEAN, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said today. She said there are enormous opportunities for collaboration between India and ASEAN in capacity building, sharing of knowledge and technology, and mutual assistance in education, research and development.
Enhancing digital and infrastructure connectivity with ASEAN countries is a major priority for India, she added. Irani was addressing the ‘Conference on ASEAN India Cooperation’ on the third day of the ongoing Textiles India 2017 Summit at Gandhinagar. Elaborating on the existing trade relations with ASEAN, Irani said that in 2016 India’s export in textiles and apparels to ASEAN was USD 1203 million.
Export of textiles and apparels to ASEAN comprises 3 per cent of India’s total export to the world. U Khin Maung Cho, Minister of Industry, Government of Myanmar, outlined the opportunities in textile and apparel sector in Myanmar, offering huge opportunities for Indian business. Irani said Textiles India has proved that the sector was the sleeping giant that is now roaring as the Make In India lion.
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Nine Union ministers shared their thoughts on strategies to transform the country’s textile sector at Textiles India 2017. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the industry needs to tap opportunities in both domestic as well as international markets. She highlighted the importance of interest subvention in lowering the cost of capital for the industry. Sitharaman said that GST is going to be a big blessing for the sector.
Addressing some questions from industry representatives, the ,minister spoke of the need to convert challenges into opportunities, and reminded them that India has taken a principled position to have a duty-free and tariff quota restriction – free relationship and trade with LDCs. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that natural fibres are the backbone of Indian textile industry. He noted that natural fibre production involves million of farmers and the industries using them create rural jobs.
He said that this is the right time for all stakeholders to discuss and formulate a suitable strategy to increase productivity of all natural fibres. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that geosynthetic fibers have huge potential in the construction of roads and ports in the country, adding that it must be cost-effective and done without compromising on quality. NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said that the textiles and clothing industry has a great potential for creating good jobs.