Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday (12 April) said that new Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreements with Australia and UAE would open infinite opportunities for Indian textiles, handloom and footwear industry.

He said that Indian textile exports to to Australia and UAE would now face zero duty and expressed confidence that soon Europe, Canada, UK and GCC countries would also welcome Indian textile exports at zero duty.

Goyal was delivering the Keynote address at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the ‘Confederation of Indian Textile Industry- Cotton Development and Research Association’ (CITI- CDRA) in New Delhi on Tuesday, a Commerce Ministry release said.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu was the chief guest at the celebration.

Goyal said that trade agreements would help in increasing exports from labor intensive industries. He added that India must also be open to receiving new technology, rare minerals, raw materials which are in short supply in the country from the world at reasonable costs.

This will only increase our production, productivity and quality, which in turn will increase demand for our products all over the world, he said.

Goyal also said that the Indian textile Industry has the potential to achieve $100 billion in exports by 2030.

It may be noted that Indian Textile sector accounts for about 10 per cent (approximately $43 billion) of India’s total merchandise exports. India is the largest producer of Cotton with 23 per cent of global production, sustaining 65 lakh people directly and indirectly, the Minister said.

Goyal called upon Indian cultivators to adopt new technologies and global best farm practices. He spoke of the AI technology that is enabling farmers in Australia to control spraying operations, as cotton crop is sensitive to spraying through data-driven decision making.

The minister commented that modern Australian cotton growers were not just farmers but drone pilots, data analysts and agri-scientists. He said that we must augment the capacity of Indian farmers who are already very talented and capable, to make them experts in allied areas as well.

Goyal asked textiles and apparel industry to focus on sustainability and farmers to focus on natural methods of farming. He said that we must encourage innovation, Research and Development and asked farmers to work in collaboration with ICAR, Agri-Universities, IARI and Cotton Research Institutes.

He also asked research institutions of eminence working in the field of cotton farming and textiles to work with each other to maximize production and productivity.

He called upon the nation to work together to achieve the 5F vision of PM Modi for textiles – Farm to Fiber to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.

The minister also said that India must aim for global dominance in organic cotton.