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India’s Textile Industry Seeking Government Relief, as Exports to US, EU Set to Plummet

The Indian textile industry is seeking a relief package to help mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shri T. Rajkumar, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), while complimenting Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji for taking strong measures to protect the people of India, requested government action to support the struggling textile sector.

Rajkumar pointed out that demand for textile products and domestic sales has “come down to a grinding halt due to the panic situation created by the outbreak of COVID-19,” which has spread to the European Union and U.S., which are the main exports markets for textile products manufactured in India.

“As per the current estimates, India’s textile exports will decline by over 40 percent in the coming months if the situation does not improve,” said, K V Srinivasan, chairman of Texprocil, the Indian cotton textiles export promotion council.

U.S. imports of textiles and apparel from India were down 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier to $719.53 million, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA). In 2019, imports increased 4.95 percent to $8.05 billion, according to OTEXA.

Rajkumar noted that the government’s decisions to close all the malls and retail outlets to curtail the spread of the coronavirus has resulted in a substantial reduction in sales of domestic textiles and apparel.

The CITI chairman said he has asked the prime minister to immediately announce a relief package for the textile and apparel sector to mitigate the crisis faced by the high-capital and labor-intensive industry, which runs on “wafer-thin margin.”

He called for a moratorium for repayment of principal and interest to banks for a year, from April 1 to March 31, 2021, and an exemption of all raw materials, dyes and chemicals, intermediaries and trims from anti-dumping duty and basic customs duty.

In addition, CITI wants the government to include cotton yarn and fabrics under already established preferential treatment programs to prevent job losses for people in the handloom, powerloom and spinning sectors, and to extend soft loan equivalents to government dues pending on individual textile units.