Today’s trade relations between the EU and India in textiles and clothing are characterized by a large and systemic trade deficit for the EU; annual imports from India exceed €6 billion (2021) – making it the 4th supplier – while EU exports to India reached just half a billion – the 20th place in our export markets.
Against this background, the free trade negotiations are an opportunity to rebalance that relationship; European textile and clothing companies can offer high quality and innovative products for the Indian market, but they can also offer solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of the textile industry.
The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex), Brussels/Belgium, supports an ambitious EU trade agenda, that puts reciprocity, transparency, fair competition and equal rules at the center of its action. The Fair Trade Agreement (FTA) is an opportunity to establish a more sustainable and fair trading system.
The sector needs open and efficient markets, while ensuring level playing field for European companies, both in terms of tariff and non-tariff barriers. India today benefits from reduced customs duties due to GSP. For European companies however, market access to India is challenging.
A level playing field should also apply to sustainability targets. As the EU will roll out its EU Textile Strategy, setting ambitious standards and restrictions (e.g. on chemicals), it must be ensured the FTA is fully aligned with that strategy.