India asks Bangladesh to reduce duty on apparel imports

NEW DELHI: India has asked Bangladesh to remove duties on its apparel imports and said the two sides can together capture 35% of the global market for textiles in the next five years and replace China.

“When we compare our share of imports in Bangladesh with China, China stands at 54% and India is at 17% given the high tariffs on Indian textiles and apparel export products. Indian industry can rejoice if Bangladesh allows retail of ethnic apparel from India at zero duties,” said Textile minister Smriti Zubin Irani at a CII event on Wednesday.

She also said that India actively looking at addressing logistics challenges at its borders to facilitate quicker turnaround times for both the industries in India and Bangladesh

“We will, apart from looking at challenges at Petrapole and Benapole, look at leveraging the inland waterway route… I would have this discussion at a ministerial level with my colleagues in the infrastructure ministry,” Irani said.

At the same event, textile secretary Ravi Capoor said India and Bangladesh can together replace China as the global market supplier.

“Together we can aspire to replace China as 35% of the global market supplier but if we work in silos and against each other, somebody else will take advantage. Together our vision should be to capture 35% of global market in the next five years,” he said.

Capoor invited a delegation from Bangladesh to visit India to resolve the issues and seal an MoU on exporting cotton to help the Bangladeshi spinning industry.

“We welcome Bangladesh’s exports of apparel to India…it is $600 million. We should be the supplier of raw material, Bangladesh is the converter into garments and we look at the world as a combined regional value chain of India and Bangladesh. This is a very very workable model.”

Noting that the two countries have culturally, socially and religiously a common platform, he said: “It is much easier to communicate to each other than with any Chinese counterpart. Therefore it is important to move on a collaboration”.

Capoor said if India and Bangladesh work in silos and against each other, somebody else will take advantage.

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