The continuing drop in import of Chinese apparel by the US, along with the recent US action of restricting trade with Xinjiang, a major textile and apparel producing region in China, has created a $10 billion opportunity for other countries. So, Indian apparel makers should aggressively focus on the US market, Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) has said.

The Chinese share in US apparel market had started declining since 2018. In particular, last year (2019) witnessed around ₹20,000 crore market share loss for China in the apparel segment alone. Now, post-COVID-19, the declining trend is accelerating, the Coimbatore-based organisation said in a press release.

Due to COVID-19 implications, the overall US apparel imports dropped by 30 per cent in the first seven months of 2020, but this decline was much higher at 49 per cent for import of apparel from China. The recent US actions in terms of trade restrictions on Chinese apparel and other products from one of the major textile regions, Xinjiang, will accelerate this trend further, the release added.

“Altogether, this trend may create a $10 billion opportunity in the US market in apparel segment alone for other countries, including India. The Indian apparel clusters should take advantage of the situation and aggressively focus on US markets,” ITF said.

After the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (FTA), Vietnam’s duty-free access may create further pressure on Indian apparel exports to the EU. However, when it comes to the US, India has a level-playing field with its competing nations like Vietnam and Bangladesh as none of these countries have an FTA with the US as of now. So, as a market diversification strategy, it’s now the right time to step up efforts to export more apparel to the US market.

“Many of our clusters in Tamil Nadu have demonstrated high level of quality, consistency, on-time delivery, best sustainable practices, green manufacturing practices, and empowerment of rural workforce. Now, it’s time for Tamil Nadu textile clusters to form an alliance, project their strengths and market it well to establish a strong TN textile sector and US partnership as an alternative to China in apparel sector,” ITF convenor Prabhu Dhamodharan said.

“We urge each and every textile enterprise in Tamil Nadu to explore US markets aggressively now,” he added.