New Delhi: Addressing the members at 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), the Council Chairman Dr A Sakthivel exuded confidence that India’s merchandise exports will reach $400 billion this fiscal as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“This is the first time in the history of India that after 74 years of Independence, our Hon’ble Prime Minister interacted with Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Boards along with Export Commissioners from States/ UTs, Industry Organisations, Indian Ambassadors/ High Commissioners and encouraged them to achieve the export target of $400 billion,” Dr Sakthivel said.
“The dynamic leadership provided by Shri Narendra Modi’s government has bestowed a lot of courage within the exporting community, particularly the apparel exporters. We are confident that apparel exports will significantly contribute towards achieving the aspirational target of $400 billion,” Dr Sakthivel said.
India’s apparel exports are picking up with mass vaccination against Covid-19 in every western market. Country’s exports during April-July 2021 recorded an increase of 91% over the same period last year, he said addressing through video conference.
“Exports to our major markets are increasing. Exports to the USA increased by 22% during January-May 2021 as compared to the same period of previous year. India’s exports to EU grew by 22% during January-April 2021 as compared to the same period of previous year. Exports to other markets like the UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, and Australia are also growing,” Dr Sakhtivel said.
Expressing gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Minister of Textiles, Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal for extending the RoSCTL scheme till 31 March 2024, the Chairman said that the move ensures a stable and predictable policy regime and will boost exports by making Indian apparels globally competitive.
The Chairman also expressed his gratitude to Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu for inaugurating the Virtual Exhibition Platform of AEPC. “The virtual platform, along with online B2B meetings has become a strategic turning point in the history of India’s Apparel Exports,” he said.
He appreciated the government for the announcement of Rs 1.97 lakh crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for 13 key sectors. “This will increase investment, expand manufacturing capacities and enhance exports. The fiscal stimulus of Rs 10,683 crore to the textile sector in the PLI scheme is focused on manmade fibre (MMF) segment and technical textiles. This is a golden opportunity for many apparel exporters who are yet to foray into MMF garments,” he said.
The Chairman said that he represented to PMO, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Hon’ble Minister of Textiles for fast tracking FTA/ CEPA with the EU, UK, US, Australia and Canada.
“India has been facing duty disadvantages against competitors in the major overseas destination. India’s exports face a duty disadvantage of 9.6% for exports to EU vis-à-vis exports from other countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Turkey, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In the UK, Bangladesh continues to enjoy preferential trade benefits after the UK’s departure from the EU,” he said.
Appreciating the efforts of the then Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani for initiating an investigation to find evidence of cartelization resulting in sudden spike in cotton yarn prices, the Chairman said that this is a crucial decision to prevent supply chain imbalances and to protect lakhs of livelihoods. “The hike in yarn prices has led to closure of many powerloom units and many MSMEs have been badly impacted,” he said.
Dr Sakthivel acknowledged the support of the then Minister of MSMEs Nitin Gadkari for accepting Council’s long-standing request to increase the investment and turnover limits of MSMEs. Besides, the written down value of plant and machinery has replaced its purchase price for investment calculation, and there is no turnover limit for exporters. This initiative of Minister will make MSMEs globally competitive and paves a new path for budding entrepreneurs to venture into, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman also highlighted the initiatives taken by the Council during the past one year for the benefit of the Apparel Export industry. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Council are promotion of MMF garment, stability in yarn cotton prices, release of old RoSL, AEPC facilitation for TUF issues, changes in Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), extension of Interest Equalisation Scheme and requesting government for considering Apparel Exports as ‘essential services’.