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REACH Awareness programme launched for garment exporters
Sep '11
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), in association with GIZ – German Development Corporation as part of its awareness creation programme on European Union's Reach regulations, conducted a workshop in Mumbai for garment exporters.

In its nationwide drive to educate garment exporters on the implications of REACH (Registration Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances) Regulations, AEPC has arranged a series of workshops across key cities of India.

REACH Regulations that came into force effective June 1st, 2007, with a view to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. With these regulations, the manufacturers, importers and downstream users need to ensure that they manufacture, place on the market, or use such substances that do not adversely affect human health or environment.

From 1st June 2011, all EU-manufacturers and EU-based importers producing or importing "articles", like apparel, have to notify the chemical substances mentioned under the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list. Currently, 53 substances have been identified as SVHC substances. Presence of such substances can lead to heavy penalties or even burning of consignments.

In order to create awareness about REACH regulations among garment exporters the programme would consist of awareness workshops across India, an interactive website with all relevant information on the regulation as also a help desk to address all queries of exporters on REACH compliance. The first of the series of workshops was conducted in New Delhi.

The seminar guided the participants about the website www.apparel-reach.com that included elements like regulations, SVHS list (describing a list of substances of high concern), Compliance, FAQs and guidance in terms of queries. The online help desk would notify regularly about the new substances, chemicals and the exporters must use the updated SVHC list to be on a safer side. The objective was to enhance the understanding of the companies/ members/users about the REACH regulation and much more.

Mr. Premal Udani, Chairman, AEPC said, “Indian garment industry is the most disadvantaged by this regulation. Unlike mass manufacturers like China, testing per consignment for fashion garments is much more difficult and costly. India specializes in fashion garments, with lot of value additions and embellishments. Compliance requires testing of these embellishments also.A manufacturer supplying small lots of such products to EU will incur very high testing charges."

“GIZ is supporting AEPC in transmitting knowledge to its members all over India through dedicated workshops. These workshops educated the exporters on required due diligences to be carried out as also how to reduce their costs on testing. .” Said Mr. Amit Kumar, GIZ.

The REACH compliance requires compliance of the whole supply chain and hence the need for educating the suppliers to garment industries, like fabrics, dyes, printing, button, trims and other accessories – items which are part of the apparel exported and need to comply with the REACH regulation. But most of these suppliers are in unorganized sector and have little knowledge of REACH.” Said Mr. Mr. Shisher Kumra, Executive Director, Sustainability Support Services (Europe) AB, Sweden.

India accounts for 5 per cent of the world's textile exports and 4 per cent of its clothing exports and it is one of the major suppliers to the EU countries, thus, these REACH regulations will have a long lasting implication on the Indian apparel industry. Exporters of apparels need to comply with these before exporting to the EU countries and they need to meet the deadlines mentioned in the concerned notifications.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC),

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