India’s cotton imports from Australia have surged to a value of $283.766 million in 2022, marking a more than four-fold increase from the previous year. This dramatic rise is believed to be due to the record-high prices of the natural fibre, which put pressure on India’s textile industry. To support the industry during the 2021-22 crop market year, the Indian government exempted import duties on cotton. However, the surge in imports was primarily driven by the high cotton prices, rather than the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between India and Australia, which only came into effect in the last week of 2022.
Market insights tool TexPro by Fibre2Fashion reports that India’s textile industry imported 80.860 million kg of cotton from Australia last year, representing a 4.28-fold increase in value and a 2.66-fold increase in volume compared to the previous year’s imports. The surge in cotton imports from Australia is expected to continue in the coming years as India’s textile industry may require more imports, and the duty-free access to Australian cotton will provide some relief to the industry when prices rise excessively.
The textile industry is a significant contributor to India’s economy and was hit hard during the pandemic due to a drop in demand for clothing and textiles. The surge in cotton prices added further pressure to the industry, leading to calls for government support. The ECTA between India and Australia is expected to boost trade and investment between the two countries, with the agreement covering areas such as trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property, and competition policy.
The rise in cotton imports from Australia highlights the importance of international trade for India’s textile industry. As demand for textiles continues to grow globally, the industry will need to rely on imports to meet its needs. The ECTA between India and Australia provides a framework for increased trade, which will benefit both countries.