At a time when Indias textile and clothing exports to the US are slipping,American apparel import is finding a firm footing in the country. India finds itself among the three fastest growing markets for US apparel during the first five months of 2012.
This,ironically,comes at a time when the US manufacturing sector is reeling under the impact of a continuing downturn and the American textile and apparel industry is severely cramped by its lack of competitiveness in international markets. Besides,the US dollar has appreciated sharply against the rupee during much of this year,which renders American exports to India even less competitive than otherwise.
Data from the US Department of Commerce shows that during January to May 2012,apparel exports from US to India shot up over 36 per cent,though the total value of the exported clothing articles is relatively small at $20.32 million. The two top export items to India are coats and jackets for men and slacks,shorts,pants for women,according to the data.
While India has,in the past,resorted to importing specialised yarn,hosiery products as well as speciality and industrial fabrics from the US,mostly for re-exports back to the American market,the new trend of rising apparel exports from the US to India does come as a surprise,admitted industry players. Much of the apparel imports could be high-end designer wear stocked at upmarket stores in the metros,they said.
According to the list for the first five months of 2012,Australia tops the list of the fastest growing exports markets for American apparel and textile products,followed by Hong Kong and then India.
The data comes at a time when India is steadily losing ground to Vietnam,Indonesia and Bangladesh in the US market for apparel and textile products. While Chinas hold over the US market is loosening,India,which was widely seen as being in the best position to capitalise on Chinas lost market share,is increasingly being relegated to the position of a supplier of intermediate products to other successful garment exporting countries.
Despite the surge in US apparel exports to India,the balance of trade in textile and apparel is overwhelmingly in favour of India. As against exports worth $165 million from the US to India during 2011,Indias total textile and clothing exports to the US stood at $5.93 billion in the same year.