In the first four months of the current year, knitwear exports from Tirupur have fallen 13 per cent. One reason is GST and the consequent reduction in duty drawback and rebate of state levies. Tirupur garment exporters have greeted the increase in basic customs duty from 10 to 20 per cent on specified garments.
The duty hike on import of 23 knitted garment items and one knitted fabric is expected to help protect the domestic textile industry. Knitwear exporters had been appealing for swift action in this regard as textile imports from countries such as China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia have increased significantly.
Exporters say there is a need to restrict import of textile products. They have prepared a white paper detailing the threat from China, with Chinese companies setting up factories in countries bordering India to take advantage of labor, low wages and customs exemption available to these countries in EU and Canada. Under the South Asian Free Trade Area agreement, specified garment items imported into India from Bangladesh are also exempted.
The Tirupur knitwear cluster is looking forward to the Indo-Pacific economic corridor as it would open up traditional apparel markets abroad. The corridor is a treaty of 12 countries, including India, the US, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand among others.