India being the largest producer of cotton and jute and the second largest producer of man-made fibre has the potential to act as a reliable sourcing partner for ASEAN, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said.

She 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. Irani was addressing the ‘Conference on ASEAN India Cooperation’ on the third-day of the ongoing Textiles India 2017 Summit at Gandhinagar. Elaborating on the existing trade relations with ASEAN, Irani said that in 2016 India’s export in textiles and apparels to ASEAN was $1203 mn.

Export of textiles and apparels to ASEAN comprises 3 per cent of India’s total export to the world. U Khin Maung Cho, Minister of Industry, Government of Myanmar, outlined the opportunities in textile and apparel sector in Myanmar, offering huge opportunities for Indian business. Irani said Textiles India has proved that the sector was the sleeping giant that is now roaring as the Make in India lion.

Nine Union Ministers shared their thoughts on strategies to transform the country’s textile sector at Textiles India 2017. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the industry needs to tap opportunities in both domestic as well as international markets. She highlighted the importance of interest subvention in lowering the cost of capital for the industry. Sitharaman said that GST is going to be a big blessing for the sector.