It’s not just economic down turn that is giving jitters to Indian apparel exports industry, but tough competition from neighbouring China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well.

“We are facing competition from exporters in Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka who are selling at much lower rates,” said Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman Premal Udani.

“Due to increase in fabric prices, the cost of our garments is higher and this is affecting our business,” Udani told IANS at the ongoing India International Garments Fair (IIGF) here.

To counter competition from neighbouring countries, Udani said focusing on “value added garments” is the key.

“We are planning to add small details like more embroidery, some embellishments to the garments. This will be something that will attract international buyers.”

The three-day 44th IIGF at Pragati Maidan, a bi-annual business-to-business event that ends Friday, has attracted over 225 exhibitors and buyers from 60 countries.

According to Udani, recession in developed nations too has affected the Rs.10-billion apparel industry, with exports falling 7 percent.

“This is the first time the industry saw this much of decline in business. Though now we are recovering, we were badly hit in the first half of 2009,” he said.

Despite the slump, he said the Indian apparel sector had several advantages.

“The major advantage we have over our competitors is that we have better command over the English language. Also, we have skilled craftsmen, amazing fabric and flexibility as well,” said Udani.

“By flexibility I mean that we take small orders as well which other countries don’t. International buyers like to do business with us, it’s just we have to gear up a bit and strategies.” Udani added.

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