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West Bengal leather exporters await VAT refunds
Feb '12
Leather exporters from West Bengal have not received refund of value-added tax (VAT) from the state government for the last five years.

These exporters are now seeking an assurance from the state government regarding their refund dues, in some bankable form, so that they can use the same for obtaining loans from the banks, Paresh Rajda, Regional Chairman (East) Council for Leather Exports (CLE) said.

Since 2007-08, the state government has hardly cleared any VAT refund claims of the leather exporters of the state, following which the total amount of unpaid refund claims is now touching Rs. 2.5-3 billion, Mr. Rajda said while speaking on the sidelines of the 17th International Leather Goods Fair.

The fair has been jointly organized by the Indian Leather Products Association, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the CLE.

Mr. Rajda said the eurozone debt crisis has badly hit India's leather exports to Europe, which happened to be India's major leather export destination. Following this, the exporters are now shifting their focus to other markets like Korea and Japan. However, in these markets they are facing stiff competition from Chinese leather goods producers.

In such circumstances, release of VAT refunds could have aided the domestic leather entrepreneurs to invest further sums in their business, he noted.

Till recently, leather industry in the state was largely concentrated in and around the city of Kolkata, but now it is extending to other Tier II and Tier III cities, he said.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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