The Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) has appealed to the commerce ministry to include textile products while negotiating expansion of its preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the Mercosur trading bloc in Latin America comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and discuss ways to reduce duties on textile products in this region. ITF points out the region holds tremendous potential for India’s textile exports and the existing PTA does not include any textile item. The duty on most textile products in this region is very high — between 24 and 35 per cent — and the market share of Indian textile products there at present is negligible.
As China is gradually losing its competitive edge in textile trade, says ITF, if India can capture 15 per cent of China’s textile exports, it can double the country’s textile exports. Therefore there is a need to focus more on free trade agreements and market diversification for textile products.
A PTA is a limited FTA where partner countries reduce import duties on a few identified products for the other. India’s exports to the Mercosur bloc in 2015-16 were 3.4 billion dollars while imports were 6.6 billion dollars. This was just a fraction of the country’s bilateral trade with the United States valued at 68.6 billion dollars and the European Union at 115 billion dollars.