The Indian textile industry has sought measures to control garment imports from Bangladesh, which is on the increase, according a report of The Hindu on Saturday.
Members of Indian Texpreneurs Federation met the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry in New Delhi recently and explained the problems faced by the industry because of higher garment imports.
They said the government should tweak the rules of origin for import of garments from Bangladesh so that the garment makers in that country used Indian yarn and fabric in the garments to be exported to India.
This will give a boost to export of yarn and fabric from India and also prevent China from taking advantage of the agreement to indirectly increase its exports to India.
The members explained to the Minister that allowing duty free import of apparels from countries such as Bangladesh under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and other least developed countries is indirectly benefiting China.
These countries do not have adequate domestic production of yarn and fabric and source substantially from China.
The quantitative restrictions on duty free imports from Bangladesh was lifted in 2010. After that, garment exports from there to India grew 67 per cent between 2006 to 2010 and 98 per cent from 2010 to 2014. In the next financial year, it increased 27.8 per cent, and then by 17 per cent. There was a slight drop in 2016-2017. However, data available for the first six months of the current financial year shows a revival in garment imports from Bangladesh.
While India can continue to support the least developed countries, it should impose rules of origin and ensure that Indian yarn and fabric manufacturers also benefit, they said.