Apparel export fell in November by 10 per cent in dollar terms and nearly 14 per cent in rupee terms, as against November 2016.
Export of ready-made garments (RMG) were $1,036 million, down almost 10 per cent from a year before. In rupee terms, export was Rs 6,719 crore, from Rs 7,783 crore in November 2016, down 13.7 per cent.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has attributed the fall to a cut in duty drawback rates and in the Rebate on State Levies (ROSL) scheme that the industry had before rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST); also, sustained rise of the rupee against the dollar in recent months.
“We have been requesting the government the restore the duty drawback to the pre-GST era. Competing nations are also benefiting from free trade agreements with European countries, which we have been asking the government to expedite, too,” said Ashok Rajani, chairman of AEPC.
Source: DGCI&S, Kolkata, 2017
Cumulatively, for the period April-November, first eight months of this financial year, apparel export grew only marginally in dollar terms, by 0.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. And, fell three per cent in rupee terms. Largely led, it appears, by a two per cent decline in textile manufacturing and six per cent fall in apparel manufacturing in the period.
“Capacity utilisation in the RMG industry has also been falling. If the current trend continues, we might not be able to even match the $17 billion worth of apparel export India posted last year,” Rajani added.
Every $1 bn of loss in export would result in job loss for 700,000 workers in the apparel industry, says the latter.
In 2016-17, total apparel export was $17.5 bn, up 2.9 per cent over the previous year. Largely triggered by some of special package benefits for the industry that year. In rupee terms, RMG export in 2016-17 was Rs 1.17 lakh crore as against Rs 1.11 lakh crore, up 5.4 per cent.