CMAI expects India’s y-o-y apparel exports to UAE to increase by 10-15%

Indian apparel exporters, known for white label manufacturing for the global brands, now want to take Indian national and local brands to the international markets. The growing strength of home-grown brands, their capacity to offer international standards at reasonable rates than the international brands can help the Indian apparel industry achieve a higher share of the global apparel trade, thinks the Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India (CMAI).

As a part of its efforts to take Indian brands to the international markets, CMAI had recently organised its first Brands of India exhibition in the UAE. “We could showcase close to 350 Indian brands to the buyers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,” said Rajesh Masand, President of CMAI, adding, “We wanted to begin from a place which has a large number of Indian diasporas.”

According to CMAI, India exports about 1.1 billion USD of apparel to the UAE per year, which is expected to grow by about 10-15% per annum. “The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is expected to give a boost to India’s apparel exports to the region,” said Jayesh Shah, Vice President of CMAI.

CEPA, signed in May 2023, has removed the import duty on goods exported from India to the UAE. This move will also give a boost to the Indian apparel exports. Bangladesh, which is a competitor of the Indian apparel exporters, gets an advantage of duty waiver under the Least Developed Country (LDC) category.

The UAE-based retail chain like Lulu Group expects that the apparel segment would benefit the most from the CEPA agreement.

“The Brands of India exhibition helped Indian manufacturers establish trade relationships with buyers who cater to UAE, north Africa and parts of Europe,” said Shah. India is the second largest exporter of apparel to the UAE after China. The Indian apparel exporters told ET that the strength of Indian exporters against China or Bangladesh lies in their ability to take orders of smaller numbers of pieces, which can be customised according to the needs of the buyers. Countries like China and Bangladesh do mass production. The order must be of at least a few thousand pieces of one colour of any garment. Whereas Indian exporters said that they can take an order of as low as 150 pieces of a garment, they said. “We can customise the orders according to the prints, designs and show our creativity,” said Shah.

CMAI expects that the exhibition like the Brands of India would help the Indian manufacturers of branded clothes to understand the emerging international requirements of sustainability, design etc.

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