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Textile Ministry Pitches For Free Trade Agreement With EU

Fri, 14th Oct 2016 (Source:Business World)

The Textile Ministry is in favour of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union as it hopes that it would boost exports of garments and fabrics significantly and help tackle competition from Bangladesh.

“The Ministry of Textiles is in constant touch with the Commerce Ministry to pursue the proposed FTA with EU to boost international trade, specially in the textile sector,” Textiles Secretary Rashmi Verma said at a textiles and apparel conference organised by CII on Thursday (13 October). While Bangladesh enjoys preferential treatment and tax benefits for textile exports in the EU, India has greater competitive advantage in terms of environmental compliances, the Secretary added. 

Verma said Indian textile industry was at a turning point. China’s export growth in textiles was decreasing and India was enjoying cost advantages, while it was also amongst very few countries which had the entire value chain existing within the country. The fact that several states were coming out with their own policy and incentive schemes for the textile sector, augured well for the future. The GST roll out will also greatly help in streamlining the tax structure and improve compliance. “As countries of the EU lay huge importance to environmental compliances, India stands to gain over Bangladesh,” she said.

Stressing on the importance of skilling the workforce to become globally competitive, she said, “At least 10 lakh workers need to be skilled every year to meet the demands of the industry and create direct and indirect employment. In a significant development, the ministry of labour is soon going to notify labour reforms allowing fixed-term employment for the textile sector”.  The Secretary also announced that the textile ministry is working on the new textile policy which will be announced soon.

Odisha Industries and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said, “We must work out a clear roadmap through policy facilitation, incentives, and structural changes to boost the textile industry in the country. Odisha provides environmental advantage for the sector and stands to gain a great deal from the new initiatives of the Union Government.”

R D Udeshi, President, Polyester Chain, Reliance Industries Ltd, said: “We must set up skill centres to achieve efficiency in skilling so as to boost efficiency in the textile sector.” The textile industry can greatly benefit from fibre neutrality, he said. 

Sachit Jain, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Joint Managing Director, Vardhman Textiles Ltd, said: “In next five years, India has great chance when textile industry shifts from China. It can greatly enhance employment from urban to rural areas as well.”

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