Proposed AEPC Action Against Garment Exporters Put On Hold

New Delhi, November 27: | Updated: Nov 28 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Textile Commissioner has stalled the tough action proposed to be taken by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) against 1,000 garment exporters who have failed to respond to its legal notices seeking them to forward information from the United States (US) to prove utilisation of their quotas issued to them during 2000. A meeting of the councils enforcement committee called in Delhi on Wednesday to give a hearing to 150 such exporters in this regard was adjourned by the Textile Commissioner after strong representations from three local trade bodies.

Fearing serious action by way of flagging and penalties threatened by the AEPC, the three trade bodies met the Textile Commissioner on Wednesday and pleaded that more time be given to them to submit the required information.The bodies are Garment Exporters Association, Apparel Exporters & Manufacturers Association and All India Garment Exporters Common Guild.

The Textile Commissioner has agreed to the suggestions of the three bodies to adjourn the meeting of the enforcement committee, sources said. Expressing consternation over the councils move, the associations said they could not understand the rationale behind the name sake statement sought from US authorities in respect of garment shipments made during 2000 to prove utilisation of quotas and warning them action/penalties for any failure in this regard.

The associations contended that once the consignments were invoiced and exported, the exporters lose the title and control over them and if documents were negotiated and paid, total control and title of goods was automatically passed on to the importers. It was therefore unfair to demand production of import information from the exporters, the associations pointed out.

Moreover, the associations explained that under the existing and past textile policy for over 25 years, an exporter was only obliged to complete his or her shipments and there was no condition to link his responsibility to the situation obtaining at the importers end. Seeking a name sake statement amounted to enlarging the parameters of the policy retrospectively and was also discriminatory,they alleged.

The exporters were issued notices without explaining to them the implications of violations and defaults under the policy. We fail to understand why they are summoned afresh. If there is a violation even by proxy attributed to such a large number of exporters, the situation demanded that the policy needed to be seriously looked into instead of proceeding against them, the associations said.