Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has requested Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to take up early execution of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the UK during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of UK Boris Johnson to India in January 2021.
In a letter to Hon’ble Prime Minister Chairman A Sakthivel said that the apparel export industry, is falling behind several competitors like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan due to duty disadvantage of 9.6% in exporting to the UK.
“Total import of apparels in the UK in calendar year 2019 was $24.9 billion. Out of this, imports from Bangladesh was $3.6 billion, while it stood at $1.4 billion for India,” he said.
The Chairman has appealed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister to initiate discussions for a fast tracked FTA or, if it is not possible to enter into an FTA, then India should urgently negotiate and conclude Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during Mr Johnson’s visit to attend Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
India enjoys strong traditional ties and good connect with UK retailers, but the exporters are facing severe competition due to duty disadvantages arising out of benefits under Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including Bangladesh, which will continue even beyond Brexit in January 2021.