GDP: $2.66 trillion/$2,540 per capital

GDP Change: +4.3 percent

Population: 1.05 billion

Unemployment: 8.8 percent

Textile & Apparel Exports to U.S.: $3.17 billion, up 21.17 percent*

Key Products: All varieties of cotton apparel, including knit and woven shirts, as well as casual bottoms.

Currency: 47.28 rupees = $1 U.S.

Major Companies: Arvind Mills, Orient Craft Ltd., Nahar Group

The world’s second-most-populous nation is also a major grower of cotton and is home to a sizable apparel industry. India, already the U.S.’s fifth-ranked supplier of apparel and textiles, is seen as another country likely to gain market share in the U.S. when quotas on textiles and apparel are lifted among World Trade Organization members in 2005.

One of the qualities seen as likely to support India’s growth when quotas are lifted is its hefty cotton crop. That allows it to have a completely vertical industry, handling every step from picking the cotton to packing finished garments into shipping containers and sending them off to the U.S. India is also a poor country, which makes apparel manufacturing jobs an attractive proposition to much of its population, even at low wages, which in turns makes the cost structure appealing to importers.

A structural problem in India’s industry is that for many years, government policies were aimed at maintaining maximum employment, which encouraged small factories and discouraged automation. Industry officials said those policies have changed and that companies are now investing in new plants and equipment.

Sources suggest that India’s large population also means it could be a significant consumer of textiles and apparel, though for years U.S. officials have complained the country maintains high nontariff barriers to imports, which India is being pressured to lower.



* FOR THE 12 MONTHS ENDED MARCH 2003, COMPARED WITH THE CORRESPONDING YEAR-AGO PERIOD. SOURCES: THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, OANDA.COM

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