Growth Opportunities in South Asia

  • Moving past the Covid contraction, South Asian regional growth is poised to increase by 7.2% in 2021 – 2022
  • The region will see positive growth as per-capita income returns to pre-COVID levels by 2022
  • South Asia is home to the world’s largest youth population of 487 million youngsters and 26% of the world’s population of working adults
  • More than one million young workers enter the job market each year
  • South Asia is the world’s 2nd largest market for garments & textiles after China
  • South Asian countries are fast becoming the primary choice of global brands for manufacturing

Key Textile & Apparel (T&A) Markets & Material Demand in South Asia


A dynamic market, India’s domestic T&A market is estimated at US$ 75 billion. While exports reached US$ 36.4 billion in 2020-21, continued large scale manufacturing has seen imports of raw material grow tremendously. In 2020, imports of cotton fabric were US$ 103.5 million, synthetic fabric imports were US$ 252 million and MMF & Yarn imports touched US$ 1.99 billion. At the same time, import of Special Woven Fabrics, Lace, Trimmings, etc. were worth US$ 150.5 million. India also imported US$ 415 million worth of Knitted or Crocheted Fabrics in 2020, testifying to the increased demand.


With over 4,600 garment manufacturing factories, Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest garment exporters with apparel exports reaching US$ 33.6 billion in 2020. Rising demand is leading to rising imports with 85-90% demand for yarn & fabric being met by imports as fabric requirement is increasing 20% per annum. In 2020, Bangladesh imported cotton fabrics worth US$ 2.46 billion, Knitted or Crocheted Fabrics worth US$ 1.3 billion and synthetic fabrics worth US$ 1.35 billion. To support increasing global demand for MMF garments, Bangladesh imported 99,345 tonnes & 72,504 tonnes of polyester staple fibre (PSF) and viscose staple fibre (VSF) respectively. Imports of special woven fabrics & trimmings, etc., reached US$ 402.6 million in 2020.


One of the most ethical and guilt free apparel manufacturers in the world, Sri Lanka’s apparel exports were close to US$ 5 billion 2021 and expected to reach US$ 5.4 billion by 2022. Total imports of fabric reached US$ 1.5 billion and cotton imports were US$ 506 million in 2020. With Sri Lanka manufacturing & exporting high value products, imports of relevant material touched new highs, importing US$ 81.2 million of synthetic fabrics and US$ 277 million of Man-Made Filaments & Staple Fibers in 2020. Imports of special woven fabrics & trimmings, etc., reached US$ 214 million and those of ‘Knitted or crocheted fabrics’ were US$ 762 million in 2020.


Pakistan’s industry is growing with value of Pakistan’s T&A exports reaching US$ 11.35 billion in July-March 2020-21, as against US$ 10.41 billion over the same period last year, showing a growth of 9%. The Government’s new ‘Textile & Apparel Policy 2020-25’ provides sops worth US$ 6 billion to boost exports between US$ 15.7 & 20.8 billion by 2025. Industry has also increased its imports of raw materials. In 2020, Pakistan’s total cotton imports touched US$ 1.39 billion, synthetic fabric imports reached US$ 42 million and MMF & Fibre imports were US$ 1 billion. Imports of special woven fabrics & trimmings, etc., reached US$ 37 million and those of ‘Knitted or crocheted fabrics’ were US$ 106.5 million in 2020.