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Government considering exports of PPE-coverall

Considering the request by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), the Ministry of Textiles has assured to discuss with the Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Health to allow shipment of samples of personal protective equipment (PPE) abroad even as PPE manufacturers wait for the export ban to be lifted.

Vijay Kumar, Additional DGFT, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said, “As of now only medical coveralls are under prohibited list but non-medical coveralls can be exported which is used in the industry, spas and saloons. Non-medical and non-surgical masks of almost all types of fabrics are allowed to be exported freely. DGFT is holding discussions with the Ministries of Health and Textiles to make further changes in the export policy of masks and PPEs. DGFT will definitely be guided by the advice of both these ministries when we make any change in the export policy.”

Rajesh Maheshwari, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) elaborated ,“You must be aware of the directives whether it is for medical devices or PPE. Classify your products as per your manufacturing capacity whether medical or non-medical, the market that you intend to export, complete all your documentation, prepare the technical file for the product, apply to the notified bodies or approved labs in US and Europe, and then after approval you will have access to these markets.”

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Rama Venugopal, President, Consultants Consortium of Chennai, said, “The European Commission (EC) has announced a Derogation Route during the pandemic allowing a lot of relaxations to the member states. Our Department of Commerce can take up with the EC for a similar derogation option for Indian exports at least for a time bound period. For example, the UK has taken the derogation for almost one year.”

Gautam Nair, Executive Committee Member, AEPC, said, “Apparel manufacturers cannot look at manufacturing PPE kits as a byproduct to be done when you have open capacities available. You need to transform your mindset and facilities as per the requirements of medical textiles.”

Dr SK Sundararaman, Chairman, Indian Technical Textiles Association, said, “AEPC should talk to Lakeland, Cardinal, 3M, Honeywell — the global giants of PPE. Without their intervention and stepping into India to join hands with the exporters here, we will not be part of the global PPE roadmap.”

Dr A Sakthivel, Chairman, AEPC, urged the government to lift the export ban on N95 masks, PPE-coveralls, and other restricted PPE items saying it is the need of the hour. A single mask manufacturing machine can manufacture one lakh pieces per day and we have more than 200 such machines. Therefore, N95 masks should be opened up for exports without any restrictions on quantities.

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Initially the sampling quantity for foreign buyers may be restricted to 10 PPE-coveralls and 50 numbers N95 masks so that it could be tested in the exporting country, he said. Dr Sakthivel, who requested the exporters to be prepared with the necessary certificates and samples as the government is likely to lift the export ban on PPEs.

Speaking at a ‘Panel Discussion on Export Facilitation for PPE-Coverall’, jointly organized by Ministry of Textiles and AEPC, Nihar Ranjan Dash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, said that the government will facilitate exports of PPE Coveralls and other medical textiles, after ensuring that the need of the  country for these medical supplies are adequately met through domestic production. PPE Coveralls being medical devices are covered under regulatory conditions applicable to each destination country of exports. Hence, the intending Exporters have to comply with all technical and certification requirements for each country or economic zone, as applicable. On its part, the Government will provide all facilitation including alignment of the domestic laboratories for International certification requirements.

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