India's textile and apparel industry holds immense potential, with the country being the second-largest exporter of textile and apparel products globally. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) play a crucial role in boosting India's textile and apparel exports by eliminating or reducing tariffs and other trade barriers.
Over the past five years, India has entered into 13 FTAs, including noteworthy agreements like the India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Corporation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA), India-UAE Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, and India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. Additionally, India is actively engaged in negotiations for more FTAs, particularly with countries such as the UK and Canada.
Despite the immense potential of FTAs, the Indian textile and apparel industry has not fully harnessed their benefits. To address this issue, the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has partnered with the renowned law firm Lakshikumaran and Sridharan, specializing in Customs and International Trade, to conduct a series of webinars aimed at exploring the various provisions and opportunities offered by FTAs and how to effectively leverage them.
The inaugural webinar, titled "Utilizing Free Trade Agreements to Expand Export Opportunities," delved into the FTA framework, focusing on aspects such as rules of origin and tariff/non-tariff notifications that businesses should carefully consider before making import or export decisions with FTA countries.
T Rajkumar, Chairman of CITI, expressed concern that the industry has not fully harnessed the potential of FTAs. He emphasized the need to raise awareness within the industry and encourage stakeholder discussions on how to effectively utilize FTAs, particularly in the textile and apparel sector, where India possesses significant potential to capture a substantial market share in these partner countries.
India's share of the Korean market has remained within the 2-3 percent range since 2013. Similar trends can be observed in the case of Japan.