With a view to encourage the textile sector in Surat and South Gujarat region and to create ‘Brand Surat’, the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) organised a three-day long Surat International Textile Expo (SITEX) from February 25, 2017 at Surat International Exhibition and Convention Centre (SIECC).

According to SGCCI office-bearers, this time around the focus was on the weaving sector and the introduction of the circular knitting machines, used by India’s largest garmenting centre in Tirupur. Around 175 exhibitors from across the country including Ludhiana, Punjab, Maharashtra etc. participated in the event.

The show was inaugurated by Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta. While speaking during the event Tamta said that he has directed the textile commissioner’s office to gather a comprehensive data from all the ports across the country on the volume of fabrics being imported into the country from China. The data will allow the government to decide on an appropriate duty structure.

The import of undervalued fabrics from China has paralyzed the MMF sector in the city. Around 50 per cent of powerloom weaving machines are running at around 70 per cent of their capacity, thereby rendering many textile workers jobless since last few years. The production of polyester fabrics has been reduced from 4 cr mtr per day to around 1.8 cr mtr per day. Earlier, the Ministry of Textiles had asked textile industry leaders in the city to provide them with data of volume of fabrics being imported from China.

“It is impossible for the unorganised textile sector to gather relevant data on import of fabrics. It is required that the textile department should make efforts to gather information on the volume of imported fabrics, so that necessary action could be taken,” Tamta said.

According to Tamta, country specific duty, also known as a countervailing duty, on imports is imposed to nullify subsidies provided by other nations and is intended to make prices of domestic products competitive. Importing countries also have other options, such as introducing an anti-dumping duty, to make domestic prices at par. The inquiry by India has been initiated under the supervision of directorate general of anti-dumping and allied duties, an arm of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Surat’s manmade fabric industry contributes around 40 per cent of the synthetic fabric demand. The exhibition encouraged power loom owners to upgrade their machines in order to match international standards and provided an opportunity to weavers to upgrade their units. The show introduced state-of-the-art textile machinery for the Surat cluster and presented Surat as a brand.

The expo provided an excellent opportunity to the manufacturers, dealers, wholesalers and retailers of the textile industry showcased their wide range of products and services and industry experts to discuss the latest market innovations. Business leaders, corporate, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, buyers and sellers can expect lucrative business opportunities at the venue. Participants also got a chance to capitalize on expertise and diversify or expand their operations in the existing market.

The event had a series of seminars, fashion shows and buyer-seller meets. It also introduced the weaving sector and the circular knitting machines used by Tirupur, India’s largest garmenting center. Surat’s contribution to the export of manmade fabrics and garments is negligible. On the other hand, Tirupur, having just 20,000 circular knitting machines, exports fabrics and garment worth Rs. 25,000 cr a year.