Apparel exports are expected to grow by 20 percent to $16 billion during the present financial year on the back of growing demand in the new markets like Latin America and Africa. "We are seeing this fiscal better than the last year. We expect a 20 percent jump in 2012-13 from $13.4 billion in 2011-12," Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said.
He said the combined effort of the government and exporters to explore new markets would "give better fruits" this fiscal.
The growth is mainly expected to come from South America, Japan and Israel, the Chairman said, adding that demand in traditional markets such as the US, the UK, Germany and France has also started picking up.
However, he said the Indian apparel industry is facing several challenges like labour, safety and health compliances in the global market.
"There is a need to focus on those issues to increase our competitiveness in the global market," Sakthivel added.
He said the AEPC has formed a stakeholder forum 'Disha' to address these problems faced by exporters and improve India's image in the international market.
The forum would also seek assistance and contributions of various stakeholders of the apparel industry towards developing strategies to improve India's image as an ethical sourcing destination.
"The forum will address the challenges of apparel exporters and provide time-honoured, focused and need based solution/assistance," he added.