India has the potential to double its share in the global textiles market from the current $12 billion to $25-30 billion over the next five years, said SB Mohapatra, secretary, ministry of textiles, at the at the DHL Fashion Conclave held as part of the Lakme India Fashion Week that began in the capital on Tuesday.
Mohapatra said that when the multi-fibre agreement comes into effect from January 2005, India would maintain its 10 per cent share of the global knitwear market.
He however cautioned Indian manufacturers saying that they have to continuously invest to compete with global players.
"The government is coming out with a package of incentives for the textile processing sector," he added.
Arvind Singhal, chairman, KSA Technopak also voiced his concern that Indian exports might suffer in the short-run.
"This sector is likely to face a very challenging time with the phasing out of quotas. Anyone who believes that a quota phase out will automatically translate into an immediate volume and value increase for the business might find the going tougher than under the quota regime," he said.
Ashutosh Padhi, principal, McKinsey & Company, said that the country had the potential to be a winner, but the window of opportunity was fast closing.
"There are two key steps that can be taken to avoid this. One is government reforms and the other is organisational improvement," he said.
In a sign of the growing prowess of the Indian fashion industry, nearly 400 foreign and domestic buyers are scouting for suppliers this year at the LIFW, compared to 319 who attended the last show in Mumbai.
Major apparel buyers like J C Penney have identified India as one of the biggest sourcing hubs in the world.
"We are optimistic and expect exports to grow significantly. But a lot depends on how our mills and exporters change themselves to make use of the opportunity," said Adil Raza, J CPenny's country head in India.
During the seminar, Harleen Sabharwal, a noted fashion expert also presented a trend forecast, which looked at the factors influencing current fashion, to help exporters and retailers.
She said that in 2005, fashion would be highly inspired by environment, nature and tradition."The new home-office concept would lead to the need for a light yet formal wear. Lycra, linen and other lighter fabric will gain popularity. The colour white often associated with our uncomplicated and pure tradition will continue to be in vogue," she said.