Garment industry unhappy over foreign trade policy

Mumbai, Apr 27 | Updated: Apr 28 2007, 08:09am hrs
The Foreign Trade Policy for 2004-09 announced on April 19 has brought little cheer for the garment industry.

The policy has announced duty-free imports for tools and machinery for handicrafts and gems/jewellery exports. It is surprising that this concession has not been granted to the garment industry which is the highest net earner of foreign exchange for the country and is the fastest growing Industry in India, Rahul Mehta, president of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) said. CMAI has been consistently pleading for such an incentive to encourage rapid modernisation of the industry, more so as hi-tech garment machinery is not manufactured in the country and hence there is no indigenous industry to protect it.

A few sops have been granted to exporters which are, no doubt, welcome, Mehta said.

These are flexibility to exporters honouring their obligations under EPCG Scheme, continuation of DEPB until March 31, change in the categorisation of status holders and revision/exemption of service tax on services rendered in India and utilised by exporters.

The modalities are yet to be worked out.

Export target for the country has now been fixed at $160 billion from $125 billion.