Potential Supply Chains in the Textiles and Clothing Sector in South Asia

An Exploratory Study

image of Potential Supply Chains in the Textiles and Clothing Sector in South Asia
Even though individual nations in South Asia are among the world’s fastest growing economies it is, as a region, the least integrated. This pioneering study from UNCTAD, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Centre for WTO Studies at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade examines one of the leading manufacturing sectors in South Asia – textiles and clothing – to assess the prospects for developing production linkages through regional co-operation.

The findings show that there is significant unexploited scope for intra-regional trade which would enhance the competitiveness of the region overall. The insights gleaned from the study will also benefit other sectors and regions of the developing world, where regional integration and South–South co-operation might be important routes to trade-led development.



Broad Trends in Trade in the Textiles and Clothing Sector in South Asia

In this section some of the broad trends in South Asia’s textile and clothing sector are highlighted, while comparing them with those of one of the leading supplying regions, namely east and southeast Asia. As all data for recent years are not always available from comparable sources, in most cases 2004–2008 has been used as the reference period for comparison. South Asia’s global exports of textiles and clothing increased substantially from US$33 billion in 2004 to around US$46 billion in 2007. The growth of exports from south Asia in this period improved the region’s global export share from 7.1 per cent in 2004 to 7.7 per cent in 2007, almost double the share of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Table 2.1). There was also a rise in global imports of T and C in the region, fromUS$7.5 billion in 2004 to US$9.2 billion in 2007. Both exports and imports experienced a drastic fall in 2008, as a result of the global economic slowdown. The share of south Asia in global exports declined from7.7 per cent to 6.1 per cent in 2008, while that of ASEAN marginally improved.


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