The Indian government is launching a campaign to attract foreign investment from Europe for its textile and clothing industry.

Next week textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran along with a business delegation will make a nine-day visit to Switzerland, Italy and Turkey, followed by another trip to Germany and France in November.

Promising 100% equity ownership, intellectual right protection and an average labour cost of US$0.70 per hour, Maran is inviting European capital to establish greenfield textiles, fabric, garment, technical textiles and clothing factories in India.

"We expect to attract 20% (US$1.2bn) of the US$6bn (target by 2015) [for inwards investment in the textile sector] in the first year (2009-10)," Maran told reporters in New Delhi.

In 2008, this investment stood at only US$200m.

The delegation will meet executives from Swiss textile machine makers such as Benninger, Rieter, Jakob Müller AG; Italian apparel and textile companies including Gruppo Coin, Ermenegildo Zegna, Miroglio, Marzotto, Vincenzo Zucchi, Radici Group, Sinterama and Turkey's Bilsar and Yünsa.

By Raghavendra Verma.