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June sees zero garment exports to US
Jul '10
Apparel exports from Nepal, seem to be on its last legs. As for the month of June, the volume of garment exported from Nepal to US, a leading consumer of Nepali apparels, literally came down to zero.

According to the Garment Association Nepal (GAN), inadequate export assistance, continued labour strife and political flux are the main factors that have lead the Nepal's Readymade Garment industry to a point where its overall apparel exports to US for the month of June came down to zero.

Uday Raj Pandey, first Vice President of GAN on this occasion said that, the Nepali clothing industry tracks, which its foundation for over 100 years back in history, is now on the verge of collapse.

He mentioned that, as there were no orders from US for the month of June, there was no production and similar is case for the months of July and August too. Also that, now it is only in September to October that they could get fresh orders.

At present, even if they receive orders, it is no way possible for them to fulfil the same, as most of the apparel firms are now functioning only partly, slogging for survival. Political instability and labour unrest have badly hit these industries, leaving them in a crippled stage.

The government, in order to rejuvenate the industry, needs to come out with an export promoting budget involving long-term and short-term business schemes, he said.

Nonetheless, exports to European countries still goes unaffected, as the apparel industry in Nepal enjoys a duty-free access to the markets there. But this too is short lived, as this free access too, sees its end in December. Efforts towards renewal of the same are underway, averred Pandey.

At present, around 70 percent of the apparels are being exported to India, whereas the remaining lot is being exported to Europe.

There were around 350 industries functional in 2004, but as the quota regime ended, this number fell drastically, with only a few of them continuing now.

Industrialists believe that, this is not actually attributable to the MFA phase-out, but to the political instability and labour strife.

Clothing industries, largely being labour intensive, were recognized for their ability to provide employment to a huge chunk of people. But now, with a dip in the exports, not only the industrialists but even the labourers are facing adversities.

Readymade apparel exports through 2002, has plunged by almost three times. Clothing exports during financial year 2002-03 stood at Rs 11.5 billion and the same plunged and was recorded at Rs 4.5 billion during 2008-09.

The industry, which at a point of time was a source of employment for around 50,000 people, now hardly employs a few thousands of them.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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