Silk traders in China and India continue to explore potential tie-ups between their two industries, with the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council currently awaiting clearance to send a delegation to China in August or September.

Chinese firms initially proposed the idea of a possible collaboration with Indian companies in a bid to add value to their products and at the same time take advantage of their low production costs. A high-level Chinese delegation visited India some months ago in search of joint venture opportunities.

Now Indian silk traders consider an alliance with their Chinese counterparts would help improve their own competitiveness and reduce direct competition.

"We are keen to collaborate with the Chinese companies as we see potential to improve the quality of our made-ups and readymade garments and also lower our production costs to make us globally more competitive," Subhash Mittal, Indian Silk Export Promotion Council chairman, is quoted as saying by the Indo-Asian News Service.

India exports around $450 million worth of silk products annually. Fabrics account for 50 per cent of exports, although ready-made garments bring in the most foreign exchange. However, silk traders expect exports to drop due to fears of war between India and Pakistan.