Exporters, however, face challenges in the domestic front

Despite the Frankfurt Heimtex 2012 home textile fair generating quite a number of interesting enquiries, the Karur home textile exporters are in a bind as the domestic industrial conditions are daunting.

The annual Heimtex fair used to be the happy hunting ground for the home textile exporters of Karur. The Karur contingent used to be strong every year and most of the visitors put up stalls in the expo to attract foreign buyers and orders.

During the years gone by many discussions on the sidelines of the fair had resulted in huge export orders for Karur firms. The big names in Karur export industry return with their kitty full.

However in the past few years intense international competition from new and emerging markets had piled pressure on the Karur exporters. Other factors such as international monetary fluctuations, Rupee value vis-à-vis US dollar, cotton arrivals, and waste cotton exports, weighed in with the exporters in arriving at the price tag.

Normally many exporters in the past used to whine that transnational factors in diverse fields, and some times not directly concerning them, used to determine the price tag and every time it was the exporter who used to end up with lesser return than he would have bargained for.

But the 2102 edition of Heimtex expo held in the second week of January presented a change in that hardly a handful of spot bookings and orders came about. Discussions and samplings done, comparison and comprehensive review of the job were the in thing.

While the number of visitors had come down perceptibly there was palpable increase in the quality of the customers who made the enquiries. Genuine buyers visited the stalls and the mood was good, Karur participants felt.

50 firms

Around 50 firms from Karur participated in the fair and most of them had put up stalls, says regular Heimtex participant and chairman, Handloom Export Promotion Council of India, P.Gopalakrishnan.

While fruitful enquiries have emerged in numerous cases, the problem for Karur exporters was the costing factor and fears over delayed delivery schedules due to the prevailing adverse conditions on the process front back home.

"Our main problem this time is not orders but process. Cotton yarn and fabric prices in the domestic market shot up soon after we landed in Frankfurt.

There is continued crisis on the power availability and operating on alternative energy sources is eating too much into the wafer-thin profit margin. Gaining Rupee has weakened us. Our worst fears on dyeing schedules and cost still haunt us and now you could sense our apprehensions,'' Mr.Gopalakrishnan observes.

While previously our quotes held validity for close to three months as the costing factors ruled firm but these days a week is too long a time to commit ourselves. After all we have our reputation at stake and we could not go back on promises and committed schedules, says Mr.Gopalakrishnan.

The international market is good, steady and holds out immense promise in terms of cost and profit but the troubles on the domestic front are too daunting to take up jobs readily, other exporters note. Even if the buyers were ready to grant the price demanded it remains to be seen whether our people would be able to come good in the seasons ahead, they remark.

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