Govt directing embassies to understand countries’ apparel needs for Indian MSMEs to export more: Gadkari

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August 11, 2020 5:00 PM

Trade, Import and Export for MSMEs: MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari urged units in apparel exports to focus on quality along with bringing down costs related to logistics, power, and labour to become more competitive even as India lags behind countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam in exports.

Bangladesh exported apparel worth 33 billion dollars in FY19. (Representational image)

Trade, Import and Export for MSMEs: MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday urged units in apparel exports to focus on quality along with bringing down costs related to logistics, power, and labour to become more competitive even as India lags behind countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam in apparel exports. “In the world scenario as compared with Vietnam and Bangladesh, we need to be more competitive, have good quality, reduce logistics, power, and labour costs. We have to make good designs of international standards by which we can get the market,” Gadkari told members of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) via video conference. He said that the Foreign Ministry is giving direction to all embassies to find out the requirements of different countries and “how we can create coordination between our manufacturers and people who need material abroad.”

While India’s apparel exports have reportedly remained at $17 billion since the past around three years, Bangladesh exported apparel worth $33 billion in FY19. Vietnam’s apparel export, on the other hand, stood at around $31 billion. The two countries have been given preferred access to the European union – India’s biggest textile market.

“We (apparel) are around 5 per cent of global exports while china is over 35 per cent. Bangladesh and Vietnam despite being late entries to the sector are exporting more than us. Apart from free trade agreements, technology-wise as well they are ahead of India for apparel manufacturing. Their production rate and efficiency is better than us and hence are cost-competitive. For them apparel is their bread and butter,” Ashok Juneja, President, Textile Association of India told Financial Express Online.

Also read: MSMEs can now raise up to 2X of emergency loan as govt doubles credit outstanding limit

Gadkari added that to upgrade the technology, manufacturers can either use what’s available in India or “if we need to take the international standard of technology by which we can upgrade our own technology, that can also be possible.” Last month, AEPC had said that FTAs with countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and European Union would help grow apparel exports double in three years, PTI had reported, even as the sector has taken a huge hit due to the Covid pandemic impact on these markets. Nonetheless, the recovery for Indian apparel exports amid Covid has been only around 30-35 percent while it might recover fully back to pre-Covid levels only after December, according to Juneja.

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