Textile exports from India are expected to increase by 15% during 2008/9 after good growth early this year, according to a senior government official.

Textile commissioner and textiles ministry joint secretary J N Singh told Reuters that growth in January/February this year had reached 8.5%, fuelling optimism that the industry would have a good year.

India exported US$20.5bn in textiles during 2007/8, an increase of 10% on the previous year, according to the Reuters report.

The news comes after the Indian government unveiled its new trade policy earlier this month, including a number of measures welcomed by the textiles industry.

The sector is fighting to regain competitiveness in an environment of the strengthening rupee, rising interest rates and higher cotton prices.