India dominates world’s largest home-textile fair

January 17th, 2010 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manik Mehta
Frankfurt, Jan 17 (IANS) Despite uncertainties that still plague the world’s home-textile industry with low demand and high unemployment in many traditional markets, India dominated the ongoing four-day Heimtextil fair in Frankfurt - the world’s largest fair for home textiles and furnishing products - by presenting the world’s biggest exhibitor contingent.

India dominates the show in sheer numbers: a record number of 385 exhibitors even surpassed, for the first time, the 381 exhibitors from Germany, the host country that has for decades presented the largest contingent of exhibitors. China with 380 exhibitors took the third position, though some German experts predicted that China could possibly overtake India at future events.

An elated Ajit Kumar, Indian consul general in Frankfurt, described India’s numerical superiority at the Frankfurt fair as a “signal” about India’s “forward march” in the textile industry.

“Germany is our leading trading partner in the European Union and not, as some believe, the UK or France. In 2008, India’s two-way trade with Germany amounted to 13.4 billion euros, with the balance slightly in favour of Germany. Textiles, which are India’s top export item, accounted for some 24 percent of India’s total exports to Germany,” Kumar said in an interview with IANS at the fair.

Some of the textile products India exports to Germany include man-made fibres, wool, raw and processed cotton, raw silk and silk yarn, among others.

While some Indian exhibitors complained about the “lukewarm response” at the show, the overall mood of Indian exhibiting companies was much better than in 2009 when the world was caught in the grip of a severe economic crisis and demand had plummeted.

Ashish Agarwal, partner at Balaji Overseas of Agra, which exhibited floor coverings and rugs, said that “2010 brings us hope which we can discern at this show in Frankfurt”.

“We are happy that business has not declined but stabilised and shows signs of rising in the future,” he said. Like Agarwal, other exhibitors also saw the proverbial light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Arti Ahuja, textile commissioner in Orissa’s department of textile and handloom, was “pleasantly surprised” with the “unprecedented interest” in hand-woven textiles, Ikat (yarn tie and dye), Tussar (wild silk) and Bomkai (handwoven jacquard) from Orissa.

“Despite the recession which seems to be receding, we had good number of visitors and received serious business enquiries,” she said. Orissa Minister for Textiles and Handicrafts, Anjali Behera, was also on a two-day visit to the Frankfurt show to promote her state’s textile products.

Detlef Braun, the managing director of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, which organised the Heimtextil show, spoke of the “positive overall mood” at the show, reflecting that the majority of participants were happy with their performance.

Braun sounded euphoric about China and India which, he believed, were “doing very well”.

“The large presence of exhibitors from these two countries provides testimony to the upbeat mood of suppliers at the show. India is an extremely important market for us. In fact, it is one of the most promising markets of the world,” Braun told IANS.

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