The COVID-19 pandemic was hugely challenging for those working within the Australian apparel, accessories and textiles industries – disrupting industry networking events, international sourcing trips and global supply chains.
With things returning to normal, the good news is that the International Sourcing Expo is back and better than ever for its 11th edition, taking place from 15-i17 November 2022 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The premise of the expo is sourcing from offshore and Julie Holt, Global Exhibitions Director at the International Exhibition & Conference (IEC) Group says that it is the ultimate destination for trade professionals to meet and network with international manufacturers and suppliers.
“International networking is more necessary than ever given all that has taken place in the past three years and how isolated Australia became from the rest of the world. The upside of COVID has been the innovation we have seen brewing during this time of quiet. The local market is primed to embrace the wealth of fresh new ideas and committed trading partners from across the globe,” she explains.
“Visitors will have the opportunity to source directly from global apparel power-playerssuch as India, who specialise in apparel and textiles across a wide range of ready-to-wear garments and home textiles. The country’s rich natural resources for making and decorating textiles are unrivalled, and we’re excited to share that there will be a significant Indian presence at the Expo, including a large contingent represented by Federation of Indian Export Organisations, Apparel Export Promotion Council, and Handloom Export Promotion Council, in apparel and textiles, and Council for Leather Exports India in the co-located Footwear and Leather Show,” she adds.
Raw material support
Mr JS Rana is the joint director of the AEPC and will attend the International Sourcing Expo in November. He shares that the country’s contribution to the international textile market is unique in that they are competitive in both the labour-intensive hand-woven sector and the capital-intensive mill sector. “India enjoys a comparative advantage in terms of skilled manpower and in low cost of production relative to other major textile producers, hence our status as the second-largest exporter of clothing and textile in the world,” he says.
Another feature that makes Indian-produced products attractive to Australian buyers is their emphasis on sustainability through manufacturing textiles that use natural recyclable materials. The country is spoiled for choice when it comes to these high-quality recyclable raw materials with huge quantities of cotton, Jute, and silk at their disposal.
The necessity of diversifying one’s supply chain
While Australia has long enjoyed a friendly trade relationship with India, the Australian government’s decision to close the borders in 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19 left many local apparel businesses that had relied on Indian materials and products scrambling.
“Unfortunately, choosing to source only from Australian suppliers simply isn’t a realistic prospect for most local apparel and textiles businesses, due to high labour and material costs. Another significant factor is that most local suppliers simply aren’t large enough to meet the demand and volume needed,” explains Julie.
It’s clear that to remain competitive, Australian businesses need a diversified and global supply chain. The Indian textile trade industry is set up to meet the needs of local buyers in both small and large-scale production and can offer value all along the supply chain, starting at fibre and ending at finished goods.
“There is a strong focus on the Australian market as a growth opportunity,” says Mr Rana. This sentiment is reinforced by India’s new Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement with Australia which now means that Indian textile exports to Australia are excluded from duties. ‘This is no doubt going to be a great boon to further cooperation opportunities between Australia and India’ says Ms Holt.
“With a robust presence of Indian exhibitors and industry associations exhibiting at the International Sourcing Expo, it is clear that there is real interest and commitment to engaging with Australian business and we look forward to realising these opportunities in November 2022, and through our events in 2023 and beyond,” Julie concludes.
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