India's wool exports to the US and Europe on the decline, with the result the wool industry is shifting focus to markets such as Kazakhstan, Germany, China and Australia. Exports dropped three per cent in 2015-16 and 17 per cent from April to June 2016.
Exports of wool and woolen products stood at Rs 3,012 crore in 2015-16 compared to Rs 3,112 crore a year ago. The decline is 9.4 per cent in dollar terms for the period. One reason for the decline in exports is global warming. This is reducing the severity of winter. During the last two winters, temperature drop in December and January was not significant.
Besides the changing climate, the rise in price of imported wool has intensified competition from Turkey, Thailand and Bangladesh for Indian exporters. The 30 to 35 per cent rise in price of imported wool this fiscal has squeezed margins for domestic players. While makers of premium fabrics and garments are able to absorb the price rise in imported wool, smaller players are the major losers.
The wool industry has made a plea for support in the form of increase in duty drawback rates, speedy release of drawback, abolition of import duty on raw wool, textile machinery and spare parts, and a special package to boost exports.