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The Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) has sought textile minister, Santosh Kumar Gangwar’s assistance in addressing issues hampering the growth of exports including the lack of Free Trade Agreements.

It a memorandum to the minister, TEA wanted a list of fabric items to be included for import under Export Performance Certificate, without payment of duty so as to get the real benefit of the announcement in the last union budget to increase competitiveness in the global market.

The TEA is particularly interested in a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

'Last year, the garment sector exported ready made garment worth 17 billion US dollar and out of this, 6.28 billion US dollar (36.97 per cent) value of garment was destined to the European Union. It still has the potential to enhance exports in the EU once the level playing field is provided to the sector,” the association in the memorandum said.

It said India's main competitor, Bangladesh, a least developed country, is now enjoying the duty free market in European Union and has exported about 15 billion US dollar in 2014 -15 to EU market alone, more than double of India's garment exports to the EU.

While Bangladesh's total garment exports were 26 billion US dollar in 2014-15, TEA said it is confident that India could dent the market share of Bangladesh once Free Trade Agreement is implemented with an additional advantage of being Compliances oriented factories.

Bangladesh and Cambodia which are entitled to the least developed countries tariff treatment have stolen a march over India while Pakistan and Vietnam also continue to get benefit under General Preference Tariff (GPT). Indian garments have lost competitiveness after imposition of customs duty of about 20 per cent.

TEA said it is confident that once CEPA is formalised, India could compete with these countries effectively and export will grow by 30 per cent.

The association also requested Gangwar to expedite the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Australia, saying it could boost India's garment exports to that country by 30 per cent.


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