SIMA urges Indian govt to ease imports of viscose & special fibres
In a press conference held last week in Coimbatore, Sundararaman, alongside deputy chairman Durai Palanisamy and vice-chairman S Krishnakumar, stated that SIMA aims to address structural issues to enhance global competitiveness. Although the domestic industry enjoys a 5-10 per cent lower cotton price than international rates, this advantage has eroded due to factors such as 11 per cent import duty and speculative trading on the MCX cotton futures platform.
The government has taken initiatives to remove the anti-dumping duty on all raw materials, especially polyester staple fibre and viscose staple fibre, which are major MMF raw materials. However, the recent imposition of Quality Control Orders has restricted the supply of man-made fibres and filaments.
Sundararaman has also urged the government to direct domestic MMF producers to supply their materials at international prices. He stated that anticipated growth in the size of the textile business and exports can be achieved only by increasing production in the MMF value chain and technical textiles, which are the growth engines for the industry. Sundararaman emphasised the urgent need to announce a Technology Mission on Cotton 2.0, adopting a mission-mode approach with substantial funding. The average cotton productivity in India is only around 430 kgs per hectare, whereas more than 20 cotton-producing countries achieve over 1,500 kgs per hectare.
Sundararaman stressed the urgency to import modern seed technology and adopt global best practices in agronomy. If implemented, this would triple farmers' income and make the country a dominant player in cotton textiles. Sundararaman also pointed out that the minimum support price (MSP) is already higher than the international price. He argued that any further increase in MSP would not be the right solution for boosting farmers' revenue. Instead, higher productivity and production of value-added cotton, such as contamination-free, organic, sustainable, and Extra Long Staple cotton, could generate higher revenues for farmers.
Advocating for a duty exemption on cotton, Sundararaman has urged the government to immediately exempt ELS cotton, which is not produced in India. He highlighted that this type of cotton has been given a separate HSN code in the current year's Union Budget, and if not ELS, then at least US Pima and Giza cotton should be exempted. Sundararaman noted that the Indian industry struggles to compete with duty-free imports of high-value-added garments from countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He also called on the government to exempt all cotton varieties from April to October, as more than 90 per cent of the cotton is sold by farmers by the end of March.
Earlier, at the 64th Annual General Meeting of SIMA held on September 21, 2023, Sundararaman, the managing director of Shiva Texyarn Limited in Coimbatore, was unanimously elected as chairman for the year 2023-24. Durai Palanisamy, the executive director of Pallava Textiles P Limited in Erode, was unanimously elected as deputy chairman. Similarly, S Krishnakumar, the managing director of Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills P Ltd in Tiruppur, was unanimously elected as vice-chairman.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KUL)