Medical masks, gloves, PPE makers pitch for resumption of exports

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on May 27, 2020

Masks being manufactured during the lockdown   -  Kamal Narang

Exporters want to attract buyers from US, Europe who are moving away from China

Manufacturers of masks, rubber gloves and personal protective equipment (PPE) coveralls have urged the government to resume exports.

They feel that there is adequate domestic production capacity and they run the risk of losing buyers in large markets such as the US and Europe.

“Manufacturers in India have the capacity to produce several crores of face masks and coveralls every day. There will be no shortage in the domestic market if exports are allowed.

“In fact, we will be also able to cash in on the increased global demand for the products as buyers in Europe and other countries in the West do not want to buy from China because of the Covid-19 situation,” according to Salil Goyal from Nufab Technical Textiles Pvt Ltd.

Goyal said that associations of technical textile producers had already petitioned the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to restart exports of all kinds of masks and PPEs as the Covid-19 pandemic had also led to an increase in demand globally.

Tapping new markets

“We were already exporting to the US, Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines and several South American countries. Right now, there is a lot of interest from new buyers because many countries want to move away from China, and we have to cash in on that,” Goyal said.

With the Textiles Ministry encouraging garments and textiles manufacturers to get into the production of PPE and masks, the supply situation in the domestic market has further improved, a government official pointed out.

“Garments and textiles manufacturing units have now started importing the required machinery, mostly from China, and many of them have started producing masks and PPEs,” the official said.

RFB Latex Ltd, a unit in the Noida SEZ manufacturing latex gloves, has sought the government’s permission to export ‘NBR’ gloves, which is a prohibited item, made from imported raw material.

In its representation to the Board of Approval for SEZs, the company pointed out that due to the prohibition on export of NBR gloves, it was unable to serve the large customer base in the US, Europe and South America, developed over the last 30 years. If it failed to deliver, it may lose its customers forever to competitors in China, Malaysia and Vietnam who have now re-started exports in full swing and are even expanding capacities.

The unit further said that it would continue to meet the demand of the Indian government on a priority basis.

“Although the representation made by RFB Latex has been placed before the BoA, which will meet on May 29, views of the DGFT and other Ministries concerned may also be sought as the issue is linked to the Covid-19 crisis,” the official said.

Published on May 27, 2020

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