ECTA will help Indian garment exporters compete against Chinese and Bangladeshi rivals: AEPC

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ECTA will help Indian garment exporters compete against Chinese and Bangladeshi rivals: AEPC

New Delhi, April 3 (UNI) Welcoming the India-Australia trade pact, the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has said the free trade agreement will eliminate the tariff disadvantage faced by Indian garment exporters to Australia vis-à-vis their Australian rivals. China and Bangladesh. “Australia is the largest clothing importer in the southern hemisphere. Indian garments currently face an average tariff of 4.8% in Australia, compared to zero duty for garments from China and Bangladesh. Duty-free access to Indian garments will put us on par with our global competitors and make our products competitive,” AEPC President Narendra Goenka said on Sunday. He said the deal would give an additional boost to exports, employment and investment in the country’s garment industry. Women make up around 70% of the 14 million workers and the industry, which is predominantly in the MSME segment, provides livelihoods for a large proportion of migrant workers and rural youth. India and Australia have signed on April 2 an Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) covering almost all the tariff lines handled by India and Australia respectively. Under the agreement, India will enjoy preferential market access provided by Australia on 100% of its tariff lines. This includes all labour-intensive sectors of export interest to India. such as gemstones and jewelry, textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices and automobiles. On the other hand, India will provide preferential access to Australia on over 70% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to Australia which are mainly raw materials and intermediates such as coal, ores and wines, etc. Garment industry body AEPC said Australia relies mainly on China for its apparel imports. “Removing the tariff differential vis-à-vis China would further help the Indian garment industry to take advantage of the China Plus One strategy adopted by many countries. Australia is a priority area for Indian exports garments as similar products are made in India at similar prices,” said AEPC Chief Goenka. According to the industry estimate, India has the potential to export knitted jerseys, sweaters and t-shirts made of man-made fibres, representing a large proportion of Australian apparel imports MMF’s sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, vests and similar knitted/crocheted items were the largest apparel imports last year.Indian garment industry is good for producing spring and summer products but not so good for producing winter products.So Indian factories are not using their full course acity in the production of winter products. Australia, which is in the southern hemisphere, will need lean spring and summer produce for Indian garment factories, AEPC said. UNI NK