Karthik Madhavan

ERODE: Garment export business, it appears, is all set to return to normality. Exporters here say enquiries have started picking up.

S. Sivananthan, secretary, Textiles and Garments Exporters Association, Erode, told The Hindu that exporters had started getting enquiries.

“The enquiries are back to normality, as they were in financial year 2006-2007,” Mr. Sivananthan said.

Most of the enquiries, he said, were from buyers in the US and European markets, which nearly accounted for 70 per cent of the garment export business from Erode. The exporters, who mostly ship woven garments, get rest of their orders from Australia, Japan and African countries.

Mr. Sivananthan, who said the enquiries fell sharply in 2007-08 and 2008-09, added that it would take a month or so for the enquiries to turn into orders.

Problem

But then the exporters seem to have a problem in converting the enquiries into orders because of cost of production. “We find it difficult to accept the price the buyer offers because of the rise in prices of fabric, yarn and accessories,” said Association president V.P. Subramaniam.

“The buyers talk to us based on prices in Chinese market, which is very different from ours,” Mr. Subramaniam said and added that the buyers suggested importing fabric for garment export.

“In fact, importing fabric from China for garment export is cheaper because the price difference between Chinese and domestic fabric is as high as Rs. 35 a metre,” he said. Though there may be irritants in negotiating prices, the business as such has already had an increase.

Union Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told journalists in New Delhi that exports of garments, rice, tobacco, man-made yarn and fabrics had “shown some positive growth”.

This positive development is despite the fact that the country’s export has slid in the last 11 months.

“It has come down to US$ 14.3 billion, down by 19.7 per cent,” he said.

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