Varanasi, Jul 18: Silk industry in Varanasi is trying to regain foothold in international markets as China imposes restrictions on the export of silk products. China has reportedly imposed restrictions on the export of silk products as the recent earthquake in Sichuan province destroyed the majority of mulberry gardens in the area and China is unable to meet eve its domestic requirements.
The traditional silk sarees makers in Varanasi are upbeat about their business and hope to capture the foreign markets. "The moment we received the news that China has banned its silk exports, we thought we could regain the markets we had lost out due to the adverse rupee-dollar equation coupled with the attractive rates of the Chinese products. We are trying to capture the American and the European markets," said Arun Agarwal, a silk exporter.
Other exporters feel that they can now make their presence felt in the South Asian markets where China has been dominating.
"China used to dominate the South Asian markets completely. If we export like some 1000 items, they export 100,000 items. This is a very good time for us to reverse the situation so that people recognize our quality and do not fall for the cheaper prices of Chinese silk products," said Mukund Agarwal, another exporter.
According to latest reports in India, the country's silk exports comprising mainly natural silk, readymade garments and carpets registered a 25 per cent growth at 897.01 million dollars in 2007-08, against 716.45 million dollars in2006-07.
Reports suggest that Indian silk is being exported to around 200 countries and the demand is increasing steadily particularly from the American and the European countries.
India stands second only to China in silk production.
Varanasi is known for its silk a time-tested icon of craftsmanship. The Banarsee silk saree industry is the mainstay of the holy city.
According to traders, synthetic-mixed silk sarees available at cheaper rates in the market. Consumers are often dissuaded to buy pure silk sarees, as they are unsure of the quality.