Exports of textiles and apparel in 2020-2021 are estimated to be nearly 13% lower (in dollar terms) than the previous year, according to preliminary data from the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council.

Last year’s exports totaled $29 billion, compared to $34 billion in 2019-2020.

Exports of ready-made garments declined 20.78% last financial year compared with the previous year, while exports of man-made textile items fell 21.20 %.

Siddhartha Rajagopal, the executive director of the council, said exports of cotton textiles had declined 2.12%. This was mainly because of the COVID spread and its impact on exports last April and May. However, all textile and clothing segments, including carpet, jute, apparel, and MMF products, showed significant growth in March this year and this trend is said to have continued in April too, Mr. Rajagopal said.

The final data, expected later this month, may be better even for overall textile exports in 2020-2021. Textile and clothing exports are expected to do well at least till June since countries such as the U.S. and U.K. are looking up and China has also started buying. “We expect this year to be better than last year,” he added.

Even in terms of apparel exports, the industry expects a rebound in global demand this fiscal year.

According to A. Sakthivel, chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council, apparel exports were just $127 million in April of last year, but $1,294 million last month.

The industry can expect a 20% increase in apparel exports this fiscal year if current trends continue. However, it is also dependent on the pandemic and its global effects.