India on Tuesday doubled import duties on 328 textile products to 20%, the second such hike in a month, as the world’s largest cotton
producer sought to curb soaring imports from China and focus more on local value addition in the labour-intensive sector. The move comes amid mounting concerns that a trade war between the US and China would further aggravate dumping of cheaper products from the world’s second-biggest economy despite a weak rupee.
As such, India’s textile imports jumped by 16% to a record $7 billion in the last fiscal, with China accounting for over 40% of the purchases, according to an industry estimate. Also, industry executives have already warned that a 28% hike in cotton prices by the government recently to ensure at least a 50% premium to farmers over costs is expected to raise the basic raw material costs for domestic manufacturers and could hurt our export competitiveness across value chains in the textile and garment sector.