With exporters starting operating their manufacturing units with limited workforce, they are gradually getting enquiries from various countries such as the US, France, and Spain for products such as apparel, leather and engineering, amid lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Shard Kumar Saraf said the order situation is getting better but it will still take at least six more months for the sector to get back on track.
“Factories have started but we are facing the problems of workers. We are getting enquiries from the US and European economies,” he said.
FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said the situation is better as buyers from the US and Europe have started talking to domestic companies.
“We are expecting that the exports will be in negative zone for some more months. In May, it could contract by about 30-40 per cent. We are expecting that from October, we can register some positive growth in exports,” Sahai said.
Sharing similar views, Ludhiana-based exporter S C Ralhan said engineering exporters are getting enquiries from countries like France, UK, Spain and the US.
Apparel Export Promotion Council of India (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said “Europe is getting better than the US in terms of enquiries for the sector. We are getting more orders from online stores as compared to brick-and-mortar shops”.
He said the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the sector significantly and in such a crisis, the government support is needed on an urgent basis to put the growth trajectory on track.
“One thing is encouraging that buyers are asking for samples from India. We expect that the anti-China feeling in the global markets can be converted into opportunity for India. Our factories have also started with 25 per cent capacity,” Sakthivel said.
Siddh Nath Singh, chairman of the Carpet Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC), said the sector is not getting healthy orders.
“Factories have started but adequate labour force is not there. Weavers have migrated to their villages,” he said adding the US accounts for over 50 per cent of carpet exports and Europe contributes about 30 per cent.
The country’s exports contracted by a record 34.5 per cent in March and 60 per cent in April.