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Apparel exporters request removal of duty disadvantage in UK.


Date: 23-12-2020
Subject: Apparel exporters request removal of duty disadvantage in UK
CHENNAI: The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up early execution of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the UK during the upcoming proposed visit of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India in January 2021. 

In a letter to PM Modi on Monday, AEPC chairman A Sakthivel said that the apparel export industry, which is trying to come out of global stagnation and compete globally, is falling behind several competitors like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan due to duty disadvantage of 9.6% in exporting to the UK. 

“Total import of apparels in the UK in calendar year 2019 was $24.9 billion. Out of this, imports from Bangladesh was $3.6 billion, while it stood at $1.4 billion for India,” he said. 

He further appealed to initiate discussions for a fast-tracked FTA or, if it is not possible to enter into an FTA, then India should urgently negotiate and conclude Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during UK PM Johnson’s visit to attend the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. 

“Given the socio-economic dividends that the proposed FTA or alternatively CEPA holds for the apparel sector and the country, we request you to consider the matter for early discussions and conclusion of the same during your forthcoming meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of the UK,” Sakthivel wrote in the letter. 

“If the issue of duty disadvantage in the UK is addressed, then we are likely to double our exports of apparels to the UK in two years' time and consequently leading to huge job creations in the country. This will create employment in the entire value chain of the apparel sector, thereby benefiting farmers and industry,” he said. 

AEPC said that while the recently announced Production Linked Incentive (PLI) would boost exports of MMF apparels, the deal with the UK would further accelerate export of medical textiles in which India has got second largest production capacity. 

Most of the units operating in the apparel sector are now in the MSME category after revision in the definition of an MSME unit. 

Early negotiation of the FTA or alternatively CEPA will help in generating employment in and increasing exports from the MSME sector, he added. 

The apparel export promotion body said it has also sent similar request letters to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce minister Piyush Goyal, textiles minister Smriti Zubin Irani, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and MSME minister Nitin Gadkari. 

Source:-timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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