Decline in exports alarming, say woollen manufacturers; look for new markets

CHANDIGARH: Worried over incessant fall in exports of woollen products, the woollen manufacturers are exploring options to reduce its dependency on the US and European markets, which are facing slowdown and account for 70% of the total woollen exports from the country.

editorial@tribune.com

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18

Worried over incessant fall in exports of woollen products, the woollen manufacturers are exploring options to reduce its dependency on the US and European markets, which are facing slowdown and account for 70% of the total woollen exports from the country. The manufacturers are planning to increase their exposure in Kazakhstan, Australia, Germany and China.

Besides their own concerted efforts, the exporters have sought the government’s intervention. They said the government’s support was needed in increasing duty drawback rates, speedy release of drawback, abolition of import duty on raw wool and textile machinery and consideration of special package to boost exports.

The woollen exports have shown a decline of about 17% in dollar terms during the first quarter of the current fiscal. According to statistics, the total value of exports during April-June this year was $103 million (Rs 685 crore) as compared to $123 million (Rs 780 crore) during the corresponding period previous year.

Further, the total value of exports in 2015-16 was $462 million (Rs 3,013 crore) as compared to $510 million (Rs 3,112 crore) previous year. The industry witnessed negative growth of 9% in dollar terms.

“The industry is witnessing a continuous decline in exports. We are making efforts to boost exports but at the same time we need the government’s support. Currently, 70% of our export is concentrated to the US and European countries, which are facing global slowdown. So, in order to increase our exports, the Wool & Woollen Export Promotion Council is participating in leading trade fairs and exhibitions in Kazakhstan, Australia, Germany and China during the current fiscal to increase our presence in these countries,” said RK Gupta, Executive Director, Wool & Woollens Export Promotion Council.

Currently, the import duty on wool is 5% and the industry imports raw wool from the UK, Australia, China and Japan etc. He said the prices of wool have risen by 10-15% in the past one year and it has hit the bottom lines.

The value of imports of raw wool was $69 million during April-June this year as compared to $76 million in April-June, 2015. In 2015-16, India imported wool worth $308 million as compared to $349 million in 2014-15. The decline in wool import was mainly attributed to the decline in exports owing to weak global sentiments.

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