Orders from the US have started to rebound, while European sales are sluggish

Orders from the US have started to rebound, while European sales are sluggish

Indian garment exporters are looking to buyers in new countries to compensate for falling orders from struggling, traditional western markets, the chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has told just-style.

"Since the last two years when our conventional markets in Europe, the United States and Canada are facing economic problems, we have started to look for new markets in South America, South Africa, Japan and Israel," Dr A Sakthivel explained.

While orders from the United States have started to rebound, European sales are sluggish and there is still a 10% deficit in demand from Europe compared to earlier sales, he warned.

According to Dr Sakthivel, exports to Japan have been aided by the 2011 India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which removed import duties on most items including garments.

Meanwhile, sales to other countries are also growing. "South Africa is doing well for us and we are also starting to get new orders from Israel," he said.

However, Dr Sakthivel said the small size of these new orders means they can only support rather than replace European demand, which still accounts for half of all Indian garment exports. "We can't have a complete diversion to other countries but we are penetrating into these new markets," he said.

Ultimately, the AEPC is trying to use these difficult times to create new opportunities: "Once the initiative is taken [towards the new markets] it will be a long relationship," said Dr Sakthivel.