India can be reliable source of fibres for Asean: Smriti Irani

Gandhinagar : India on Sunday said it can be a reliable sourcing partner for natural and man-made fibres for the Asean countries.

“India being the largest producer of cotton and jute and the second largest producer of Man-Made Fabrics (MMF) has the potential to act as a reliable sourcing partner for Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” said Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani addressing a conference on Asean-India Cooperation at Textiles India 2017 here.

The Minister said that Indian textiles and apparel exports to Asean in 2016 were worth over $1.2 billion.

“Export of textiles and apparels to Asean comprises 3 per cent of India’s total exports to the world,” she said.

Irani said there are enormous opportunities for collaboration between India and Asean in capacity building, sharing of knowledge and technology, and mutual assistance in education, research and development.

“Enhancing digital and infrastructure connectivity with Asean countries is a major priority for India,” she added.

Speaking at the event, neighbouring Myanmar’s Industry Minister U Khin Maung Cho said its textile and apparel sector offers huge opportunities for Indian business.

“Myanmar policies are attractive for foreign direct investment in various sectors, especially garments, textiles and agriculture,” he said.

The conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) explored the value chains and institutional frameworks for collaboration in textiles between India and Asean countries under India’s ‘Act East’ policy.

At least 65 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed during the three-day textile trade fair that concludes on Sunday.

The MoUs, related to exchange of information and documentation, commercialisation of handloom and silk products, skill development, supply of cotton, and research and development and trade promotion with international partners were signed between various international and domestic organisations.