India To Continue Sops For Textile Exporters

India To Continue Sops For Textile ExportersIn a major relief for textile exporters struggling to maintain their share in an uncertain global market, India has decided to continue with export sops for the sector in the new fiscal and, probably, the following two years as well. This is despite the US demanding that such incentives be done away with immediately.

Washington argues that New Delhi no longer qualifies to give such concessions under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules as it attained export competitiveness in the textile sector eight years back.

With India sticking to its stand, the centre will not feel compelled to withdraw export incentives for the textile sector while announcing the Budget (for 2015-16) or the Foreign Trade Policy.

While not willing to withdraw the sops right away, the commerce and textile ministries have, however, started working on alternative schemes so that export sops for the sector can be replaced over the next three years.

“The US has been claiming that we need to stop our export sops for the textiles sector from 2015, but we believe that our phase-out period ends in 2018. We will stick to our deadline,” a commerce ministry official said.

The sops that will have to be phased out include the popular Focus Product and Focus Market schemes under which exports to targeted markets are incentivised, the EPCG scheme and the interest subvention scheme for export credit.

As per WTO’s agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures, export subsidies can be given only by countries that have not attained export competitiveness, which is defined as attaining a 3.25 per cent share in world trade for a product for two consecutive years. Members get eight years to phase out their export subsidies once they reach export competitiveness.

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