Govt assures support to apparel sector

PTI New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2013


The government today assured the apparel industry that it would address issues relating to skill development and availability of credit to boost garment exports.

These issues came up for discussion at inter-ministerial workshop which was held here under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth.

In the meeting, garment exporters apprised the Cabinet Secretary about the issues hindering the industry’s growth.

These include high interest rates, costly raw materials, lack of skilled workforce, rigid labour laws and high customs duty on synthetic fabric.

“The apparel exporters have apprised us about a wide range of issues and made suggestions for the same. We would like to take up issues like skilling, improving the scale of operations, building consensus on labour reforms and import duties,” Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth said after the meeting here.

“The government is committed to facilitate the exports of garments, plus all exports in general, and whatever legitimate help can be given we will definitely like to give that,” he added.

To encourage the sector in increasing its share in global market, Seth said, “We definitely agreed to meet from time to time to see what progress have been made as this is the sector which we would like to encourage.”

During 2012-13, India’s apparel exports declined by about 6 per cent year-on-year to $12.9 billion on account of weak demand from the western markets. The US and EU together account for 60 per cent of India’s total garment exports.

In the wake of sluggish demand from traditional markets, the apparel sector has been pressing for import of synthetic fabrics at a lower duty of 5 per cent in the entire 12th Five-Year Plan. At present, the import duty on synthetic fabrics is about 21 per cent.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) said the cost of credit is too high for the industry.

“At present, the exporters get credit at 12.5 per cent so there is a need to provide export credit at fixed 7.5 per cent to the sector,” AEPC Chairman, A Sakthivel said.

Published on May 17, 2013

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