June  2004




June/July 2004 


 The Nagas

Rupa Bajwa's
 'The Sari Shop'

 Visual Arts
 Art of Art Restoration

 Business & Industry
 Cotton textiles - a
 South Asian Call

 Adventure & Leisure
Eclectic Himalayas

 Gaurav Majumdar

 Shamaila Khan
Hari Kunzru

 Waheeda Rehman -
 a new image

 Old Jeans - 
 New genes

 Women's Issues
 Obesity in 35+

 Coffee Break
 South Asians in news


 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Between Heaven and Hell

  Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in










   about us              back-issues           contact us         search             data bank


  craft shop

print gallery

Page  5  of  5

South Asian Cotton Textile Industry

Part 2



Salman Minhas


Global Picture 2004- Cotton Textile & Apparel Markets

China produces 17 million and the USA 16 million bales of cotton. A bale of cotton weighs 227kg.

USA - After a marked slow down from 2000-2002, US domestic clothing sales picked up in mid-2003. Textile exports rose 2.9% in January-July 2003 but clothing fell 6.2%. US imports surged, especially from China and Vietnam. By August 2003 textile output was down 9.8% and clothing 13.3%. Several big players filed for bankruptcy in the U.S.

South America- In Brazil output was boosted by recovery in the Argentinean market. Argentinean clothing exports also bounced back while Colombia benefited from special US access under ATPDEA. But Mexico struggled as competition rose from Asian and CBI suppliers.

The EU textile and clothing deficit fell in 2002 for the first time in six years as the textile surplus rose by 14% and clothing import growth slowed markedly—despite a 17% surge in imports from Turkey. But textile output fell by 5.2% and clothing output by 12.1%.

Eastern Europe - EU membership and the end of quota protection in 2005 will result in increased production costs in many countries. Cheap Asian imports will grow. Russian output is set to expand significantly under the country’s light industry development plan.

South Africa - The stronger rand has made producers less competitive.
But trade agreements with the EU and other countries in the region have opened up export markets and boosted production.

Japan - Industry shrank in the first half of 2003 as domestic demand remained weak and exports of most items fell in volume, although values picked up.

China - Export growth remained strong but price falls reduced profit margins. Output rose in all the main sectors, leading to pressure on raw material supplies. In Hong Kong only re-exports were strong. Local firms are pinning their hopes on the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with China.

Far East- In South Korea falling exports and domestic demand affected output. Exports fell in Taiwan. In Thailand output increased due to rising exports, especially to China. Indonesia was down due to rise in costs and in the rupiah exchange rate. Malaysian clothing did well and Vietnamese exports to the USA soared.

South Asia:

India’s export recovery failed to raise output but Pakistan’s exports of cotton fabric, towels and garments have soared as a result of trade concessions, due to the Frontline status of war on terror. Pakistan’s plan to start new "garment cities" will focus on higher value clothing. In Sri Lanka fast export growth boosted output but sales to the USA and EU were weak. Slow growth in EU and US markets also hit exports from Bangladesh.

WTO 2005 - Impact on South Asian Textiles

Post WTO – 2005 – McKinsey-DHL- Report Summary

In the years 2005 and beyond, India could be the next big winner after China in the post quota period to the detriment of other Asian suppliers, says a report commissioned by DHL and authored by Mc Kinsey. The following are the report recommendations of areas that need to be improved: [the report interviewed 40 DHL customers].

According to the DHL-McKinsey Apparel and Textile Trade Report, the value of the global textile and apparel industry will most probably go up to $248 billion by 2008, with China, India and Pakistan expected to be the "clear winners". The report forecasts that India has the potential to increase her share from the current 4 per cent to 6.5 per cent valued at $16 billion by 2008. Pakistan can grow from $ 5 billion to about $ 10 billion by 2008.

The report noted that by 2013, exports from India could grow 15 per cent to 18 per cent annually amounting to over $30 billion, provided reforms are implemented.

Report Caveat :- the window of opportunity is small [ 1 year ] . Existing export growth is going to be only 8 per cent per year if required reforms are not implemented.

Post WTO- Reforms needed for India & Pakistan:

1. De-Regulate & Improve Logistics. India’s market share will depend on the way the United States and the European Union impose specific textile safeguards in order to limit the surge in shipments from China, the "white paper" explains.

Scenario 1. Taking shares to declining Asian suppliers.

US and EU would not try curbing apparel imports from the PRC and China would take a 50% share of global market by 2008.In the four coming years, China's apparel exports would therefore rise 16.6% per year to US$124 billion.

Scenario 2 .

Brussels and Washington would re-impose quotas on a series of apparel categories from China whose apparel exports would "only" increase by 7.3% per year to US$64 billion in 2008. The rest of Asian countries would be the first victim of quotas' removal and China's consecutive expansion.

Falling Exports: Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Unchanged Exports : Low-cost countries notably Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Rising Exports: China, Pakistan and India would gain from quotas' elimination, with India's exports growing by 8 to 10% per year to US$12 to 16 billion by 2008 while Pakistani sales would be up 6% per year to about US$4 billion in the fourth year of the post-quota era.

2. Improve productivity

The rise in India's exports will actually depend on a series of domestic improvements, from deregulation in labour laws to investment in updated equipment, Mc Kinsey says.

India already enjoys low labour costs, wide availability of textile materials and large market shares in specific categories. Indian plants suffer from very low productivity, however, compared with the United States and China.

"Productivity of Indian exporters is 35% of US levels, compared with Chinese exporters that operate at 55%," according to another study by Mc Kinsey about men's shirt producing plants.

"The overall productivity of the Indian and Pakistan industry, including tailors and domestic manufacturers, is only 16% of the US," the report adds.

Regarding production of men's shirts, for instance, India should improve workflow, invest in better technology, reduce faults in fabrics, expand the size of factories and more importantly shift from tailors to manufacturers.

3. Reduce delivery delays:

India also suffers from an absenteeism rate of 13% versus 5% for the rest of Asia. "Rejection levels are 3.3% versus 1.8% for rest of Asia, and delayed shipments are 19% versus 9% for rest of Asia." Reducing lead times should be a major priority since US brands and retailers such as Gap and Nike intend limiting their apparel product development lifecycle from 12 down to only 9 months. Domestic environment of Indian companies should also be improved. Import tariffs and other barriers should be reduced while new laws should allow women working during the night, according to the report. So-called "de-reservation" of Indian industry should be extended to hosiery and knit fabric manufacturers, allowing large units to develop their activities. The Infrastructure should also be improved, Mc Kinsey said.

4. Critical Success Factors identified in the report include:

Increase Textile Industry incentives Create level domestic market playing fields by extending de-reservation, uniform application of excise taxes; reduction in import duties on apparel, textiles and machinery

Revise labour laws [flexible exit policy], improving infrastructure [that is, reduce power outages and port delays]; improve availability of high quality textile technologies in order to increase FDI [foreign direct investment].

Establish bilateral agreements with US and EU under the quota free regime, to be competitive against other low cost exporters [Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam]

Improve Training for workers via Educational Institutes for Improved Training skilled operators on textile engineering techniques.

Adopt US & EU Textile Compliance Standards


Local manufacturers recommendations:

Quality Control Management [Six Sigma, etc] to reduce absenteeism, rejection levels and delays.

Increase Technology Investments to speed production and gain scales of economy.

Invest in Marketing by developing working relationships with the right customers and local Fashion Industry.

Implement Supply Chain Management Technology: Improve time-to-market [opportunity costs] and logistics costs, reliability, security and visibility [ use of Radio Frequency Identification –RFID- technology ]


Author’s recommendations

1. Start investing in Natural–Organic Cotton Farming & Natural Dyes plus use Trickle Irrigation to increase yields in cotton by 50-70 % – as Green –ecological issues /concern increase in USA & Europe – due to higher value addition and selling prices.

           2. Use Information and Telecom technology to aggressively reduce          
           lead  times and provide real-time tracking. Nike & others have reduced 
           cycle times of new designs from 12 months to 9 months.





Copyright © 2000 - 2004 []. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.