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India seeks new business opportunities in Latin America

By FashionUnited

3 Feb 2017

India took part in the 29th edition of Colombiatex in the Colombian city of Medellin as part of its market expansion strategy in Latin America.

From amongst the 510 exhibitors present at the fair this year, 45 came from India. Accompanied by its economic advisor from the Ministry of Textiles, Babni Lal and the Chairman of the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), Ujwal Lahoti, this was the largest group ever taking part in the fair in the past four years. Colombiatex is the doorway to Latin America. Selling cotton is part of our tradition and we would like to diversify our exports. India has an integrated value chain and we would like to develop our trade relations with Latin America through our abundant supply of cotton, silk, yarn or mats", said Lal.

A growing market

Lal and Lahoti said that, as part of his government work, the Indian Prime Minister is promoting a campaign to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India: "We want to create investments. Our country already has over 1200 million inhabitants and a middle class in constant expansion. But our focus is not only on the local market but also on Eastern Asia because India is a doorway to Eastern nations like Korea, Japan and Singapore", they said.

They also added that, at over 7 percent a year, India is an extremely attractive market as it is the fastest growing major economy on the planet. “We have a very young population, half of which is under 26 years old and many of them are interested in fashion. India is the preferred destination for European brands like Mango, Zara and H&M", said Lal.

Creating new trade relations

Lahoti said that they encountered design and technology in Colombia, two good resources to make use of when working with Indian companies. Lal also emphasized the colour of Colombian products as another potential exchange element: "We have a wide range of natural dyes and Colombia imports a lot of these. They use indigo for denim and we are leading producers of this product. And as regards collaboration in terms of design mentioned by colleague, I think we could add it to colour and fashion and develop a good partnership".

The Indian representatives also showed an interest in denim: “We make denim but the product made in Colombia seems much more sophisticated, particularly its design and good quality finish. We would like to strengthen our business relations with Colombian companies and increase our knowledge of dyeing and printing. We also see potential for increased trade in this area", said Lal.

Workers explained that India needs technology and refinement for its clothing industry and both countries could learn from each other because they are not competitors. "India and Colombia export clothing and textiles but we are not competitors because we trade with the United States, Europe and Asia, whilst they sell their products on their domestic market and, on a larger scale, to South America. We make different products for different markets."

Written by: Cynthia Ijelman

Images: Inexmoda and FashionUnited