Apparel exporters have urged India to strike a pre free trade preferential
trade deal with United Kingdom in a bid to remove the disadvantage faced by
them in the British market. The apparel export promotion council has made this
plea in a letter to the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal
As many as 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including Bangladesh will
continue to enjoy preferential trade benefits after the UK’s departure from the
EU after the implementation of Brexit in January 2021. This will be a
continuation of the disadvantage to Indian apparels in the important and
potential market of the UK.
India has been
losing out to its competitors in the UK
India has been losing out to its competitors in the UK and hence we request
to initiate discussions for an early trade pact for apparels in the run-up to
FTA,” Dr Sakthivel wrote in the letter. The AEPC had earlier requested to fast
track negotiations to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the UK to
boost apparel exports.
The Chairman said that the apparel exports to UK, which is India’s third
largest export destination after USA and UAE, have been facing a tariff
disadvantage of 9.6 per cent as against countries like Bangladesh due to the
EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which the UK plans to continue
offering to the 47 LDCs.
B’desh exports grew
but India’s declined
“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 CAGR during
2009-18, when our exports stagnated at 0.5 per cent. Bangladesh exported
apparels worth 40.4 billion US Dollars
to UK Market whereas we did 16.5 billion US Dollars in 2019. It’s a labour
intensive sector and we need to ask for a special consideration in our
bilateral relations with the UK,” Dr Sakthivel said.
India’s readymade garments exports to the UK fell 0.8
per cent to 1,606 million US Dollars in 2019 from 1,619 million US dollars in
2018, cutting the UK's share in India’s exports to 9.7 per cent from 10.3 per