Garment exports could touch $30 billion in 3 years: AEPC

 NEW DELHI: Garment exports may touch $30 billion level in the next three years if government reduces import duty on synthetic fabrics to 5 per cent, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has said. 

"We have put up an ambitious plan for increasing garment exports to $30 billion in three years, provided import of speciality fabric, which is widely not available in the country, is allowed to be imported at five per cent customs duty," AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said here.

At present, import duty on synthetic fabrics is about 21 per cent. 

Sakthivel said the proposal has received a positive response during the meetings with Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, Commerce Secretary S R Rao, Textile Secretary Zohra Chatterji and DGFT 
Anup K Pujari. 

He was speaking at the AEPC Export Excellence Award and Lifetime Achievement Award function held last evening. 

During 2011-12, apparel exports grew about 18 per cent year-on-year to around $14 billion. 

Speaking at the occasion, 
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the garments sector symbolises the main driver for the entire textiles value-chain. 

The importance of the sector lies in ensuring the preservation of traditional crafts and modern skills coupled with mixing the same with buyers' behaviour, he added. 

Further, he said, the sector's economic importance can be attributed to its high employment potential, moderate capital investment, high value-addition and potential to earn foreign exchange. 

"The apparel sector provides employment to an estimated 11.22 million workers," Sharma said. 

During April--December this year, the country's garments exports declined 8.5 per cent to over USD 9 billion because of slowdown in major markets like the US and the EU.