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Armanis, Benettons may sport 'Made in India' labels

S Kalyana Ramanathan in Chennai | July 23, 2003 09:02 IST

The next time you shop at Harrods or Marks & Spencers in London or in Fifth Avenue, New York, there could be a pleasant surprise in store -- the Armanis and Benettons at these prized shelves may be sporting the 'Made in India' label.

After innumerable botched bids, it seems the 'Made in India' label is on its way to global reckoning.

And making all this happen are a band of intrepid exporters from Tirupur, India's hosiery town (or more derisively dubbed 'banian-chhaddi town') in Tamil Nadu.

Subject the results of a techno-economic feasibility study by a clutch of foreign label owners, a cluster of some 20 apparel and hosiery exporters in Tirupur would soon be churning out garments that will carry prestigious labels such as Giorgio Armani and United Colors of Benetton.

A 12-member delegation led by A Sakthivel, president, Tirupur Exporters' Association, recently visited Treviso, a city in the north-east Italy, to sell Tirupur's core ability to manufacture international quality apparel at extremely affordable rates.

Says Sakthivel, "India's cheap labour cost is an obvious reason for the international brands to open manufacturing base here. For example, for a particular level of labour, if they pay $7,000 per month, we pay some where in the region of $90 to $100. On the final output the cost savings could be as much as half of what it would take in Italy."

A team from Italy is expected to visit Tirupur some time in August or early September this year. Subject to their satisfaction, they would be followed by a team from the apparel manufacturers in Italy.

"If the study results are positive, we can expect the joint venture agreements to be signed by March next year," Sakthivel said.

Some 20-odd joint ventures that are expected to signed between Italian label owners and exporters in Tirupur. Each brand owner from Italy is expected to make his or her own pact with a counterpart in Tirupur.

Sakthivel said, "TEA has no role to play in this. The delegation that visited Italy in March was represented by exporters in their individual capacity and not as members of TEA."

Since techno-economic study and signing of the joint ventures are still pending, Sakthivel said it was too early to speculate on the volume of business that the proposed association would trigger.

Sakthivel added, "For the current financial year, we are expecting a 10 per cent jump over the previous years export of Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion)."

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