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AEPC requests Indian govt to start PTA talks with UK

Nov '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
India’s Apparel Export Promotion Council (APEC) recently urged the commerce ministry to begin negotiations for a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the United Kingdom to boost sectoral exports. AEPC chairman A Sakthivel said the agreement would help remove disadvantages related to customs duty faced by domestic players in the European nation.

“It has been learnt that after the implementation of Brexit in January 2021, 47 least developed countries (LDCs), including Bangladesh, will continue to enjoy preferential trade benefits after the UK’s departure from the EU. This will be a continuation of the disadvantage to Indian apparels in the important and potential market of the UK,” he said in a letter to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal.

Under a preferential trade pact, two countries significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on certain numbers of goods to promote trade ties.

Apparel exports to United Kingdom, India’s third largest export destination after the United States and the United Arab Emirates, have been facing a tariff disadvantage of 9.6 per cent as against countries like Bangladesh due to the the European Union’s generalised scheme of preferences (GSP), which the United Kingdom plans to continue offering to the LDCs, Sakthivel said.

“It’s not a matter of LDCs. The point is that Bangladesh is equally competitive now and their exports have grown at 11.7 per cent compounded annual growth rate during 2009-18, when our exports stagnated at 0.5 per cent,” Sakthivel was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Bangladesh exported apparels worth $40.4 billion whereas India’s exports stood at $6.5 billion in 2019, he said adding it is a labour intensive sector and there is a need to ask for a special consideration in India-UK relations.

India’s readymade garments exports to the UK fell 0.8 per cent to $1.60 billion in 2019, he observed.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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