Post-quota Regime Will Hit US, EU Hardest: Texprocil

Mumbai, Nov 9: | Updated: Nov 10 2003, 05:30am hrs
It is one of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to head an export organisation at the cusp of a new challenging era, and that too while it is celebrating its golden jubilee. The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Councils (Texprocil), chairman, Lalit P Desai, enjoys such an opportunity. Mr Desai is one of the third generation member of the six-decade-old firm Navnitlal & Co, one of the leading 100 per cent cotton textile exporting firm to have serial number 5 as export licence number, issued by the Reserve Bank of India. Speaking on behalf of the 7,000-plus members of Texprocil, Mr Desai says, after five years, there is a renewed optimism among the industry members who are fast gearing up for the post-quota regime challenges. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

What role does Texprocil has in a quota-free world
With competition becoming the rule of the game in global textiles trade from January 1, 2005, we need to reposition Indian textiles industry as a whole and make it stronger to meet the emerging challenges ahead. Gone are the days of surviving through quotas and seeking the governments support for the same.

How do you intend to achieve this
By gathering the support of both the government and the industry members. In this direction, the government has already decided last month to set up a 10-member committee to be represented by each of the seven textile export promotion councils, industry, textiles ministry and also KSA Technopack. This committee will help the government chalk out the roadmap for the Indian textiles industry as a whole. The committee members will meet each month to review the dynamic trends both in the global and domestic arena.

Also, the committee will recommend setting up of a government and industry-supported fund that will be utilised to promote Indian textiles in the global arena.

What promotional efforts are lined up during Texprocils golden jubilee year
Increased awareness of Indian textiles is the first goal of Texprocil in its golden jubilee year. I see greater role for scope for the councils role for international marketing, providing countrywise data and information. For this purpose, we have decided to set up a textiles information centre at Colaba, Mumbai, and selected Dunn & Bradsheet to help us identify global trends in demand and supply for the various segments of textiles products and advice how our members can benefit from these trends. Various aspects of this are currently under negotiation and the cost for this would be shared by the Texprocil members.

How will the post-quota regime affect the US, EU
As I see it, two of the worlds major cotton consumers the US and EU are likely to be hit the hardest, more so because of the cost-competitiveness of Asian countries. Players in the textiles sector in these countries will either have to shut down their operations and those who survive will be forced to shift their manufacturing activities to South East Asian countries like China, India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Therefore, I see big opportunities for India and we want to be prepared when this happens.

What support does Texprocil expect from the government in this regard
The government has always been too helpful and over the past few years, there is increased awareness and cooperation from the government as regards the textiles industry.

However, unlike in the past we have to expect less from the government and more from our members to be globally competitive. The government will always be there as a facilitator.

Will India always remain tailor to the global market or can it hope to have its own independent presence with Indian labels
India will always remain tailor to the global market. It is too early for us to dream of having our own global brands competing with leading names. Therefore, leading textiles and apparel brands like GAP, Ekia, Marks and Spencers and Wall-Mart, have already set-up their sourcing bases in India. These and few other names corner over 40 per cent of the goblal textiles and apparel market and therefore, we will have to remain with them till at least for the next couple of years, before we can think of our own leading brands being hawked in the international arena.

Should Texprocil continue independent operations, or merge with other textile export promotion councils as is being thought since the past few months, more so even by the textiles ministry
There is chance to minimise the textile EPC, but there will be some of core textile promotion council will remain there, as smaller players can not efforts to market their products in the overseas market.