Indian knitwear exporters bank on free trade agreements to eye bigger markets

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 04:54 GMT, May 21, 2015 |

With India set to sign free trade agreements (FTA) with Europe, Canada and Australia later this year, exporters in the country’s knitwear hub are working on anti-bacterial and sweat-proof garments to enter the foreign markets. Southern Tamil Nadu state’s Tiruppur city accounts for 90 percent of India’s cotton knitwear export. Exporters say once the FTA comes into effect later this year, the business is expected to grow by as much as 50% in next three years.

A. Sakthivel, president of Tiruppur Exporters Association (TEA), said on Tuesday (May 19) that labour cost was no longer the issue as the use of modern technology had already cut down several costs. “The advantage of labour cost has gone now. Technology, speed, delivery time and quality play a vital role now. Now the Indian exporters are well versed with speed, delivery and quality. We are having an advantage over China,” said Sakthivel. He, however, said the shortage of labour was a major cause for concern.

Over the years, Tiruppur has become a manufacturing hub of hosiery, knitted garments, casual wear and sportswear. The garment industry has demanded special economic zone status for the entire Tiruppur town to promote exports.