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Textile Ministry considers new bi-lateral agreements to boost exports

Union Ministry of Textiles is looking at countries like Australia, CIS, including Russia and Africa, to boost exports through bi-lateral agreements as free trade agreements (FTAs) with major countries in Europe and US getting delayed. This comes on the back drop of the ministry's target of doubling textile exports in the next 10 years from the current level.

However, the challenge remains lack of FTAs, credit availability and old labour laws, which currently puts India at competitive disadvantage, according to the textiles secretary Rashmi Verma. Textile export target for 2015-16 was $47.5 billion. Till December, export clocked was around $32 billion.

Last year, textile export was around $42 billion, large of part of it cotton and yarn, said Alok Kumar, Union Development Commissioner (handlooms) adding that current global environment is challenging. Verma added since India doesn’t have FTAs with US and EU, the textile sector is at big disadvantage compared to Bangladesh and Vietnam. They are exporting at zero duty, while Indian exports subject for 10-14 per cent.

Meanwhile the Textile Ministry also requested the Finance Ministry to give some kind of tax incentives to the weavers to make this sector attractive. The suggestion includes offering tax holidays and interest subvention among others.