Chairman's Word for November

Dear Readers,
This month, in addition to reflections on the Apparel sector and updates on GST and our initiatives, I want to take a step back and share with you some big-picture work that we’ve been trying to do with AEPC as an organisation. Like you, our members, we also always aspire to operate with as much clarity and impact as possible. To that end, we have been taking a fresh look at our organizational structure and working, and I look forward to present you with the results.  I take this opportunity to announce the appointment of Shri Anil Kumar Vasu Pillai in AEPC, from September 2017. I heartily congratulate and welcome Anil on assuming the office of Additional Secretary General, AEPC. We hope to continue contributing constructively to the development and improvement of the Indian Apparel Industry under his able leadership. Anil brings with him more than 25 years of experience in export promotion, policy initiation & formulation, research, policy advocacy & networking with stakeholders through an active engagement with government and industry.  I would also like to thank outgoing ASG Shri Vijay Mathur, on his superannuation, for his strong engagement and valuable contribution to AEPC and the trade for more than 30 years. The AEPC family bid him a warm farewell from office this Diwali.
AEPC has been making advanced collaborative efforts that create meaningful change for our trade and industry by reaching out beyond the obvious. We are grateful to Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, Honorable Union Minister of Textiles and I&B, and FIEO for inviting us to showcase our grievances to Shri Suresh Prabhu, Honorable Union Minister of Commerce and Industry at the Exporters Meet. We also met Shri Naresh Gujral, Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce and highlighted our current challenged situation.
There is a unanimous appreciation in the concerned Ministry corridors of the criticality of urgent streamlining of the financial blockages for the SMEs in our sector. We have been promised substantial efforts towards easing out the pressures of GST, unchanged input costs and reduced drawback. AEPC has formed a special Taskforce and strengthened its GST helpline with external experts. Sincere and urgent efforts have been mobilised towards prioritised resolution of GST issues and revised drawback/ RoSl rates.  We welcome your suggestions for any further facilitation in this regard.
Recognizing a need to re-define and re-commit to our core duty of export promotion, we have been engaging more strategically with our Buying countries.  In this drive, we recently invited Mr. Christopher Griffin, President, Sourcing at Magic, USA, to guide our Exporters on how to conduct and expand business in the USA.  
We are now gearing up for our annual show of AEPC Export Awards 2016-17. The ceremony is scheduled on 18 December 2017 in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi. This year’s event will be powered by a POWERgroup discussion, moderated by CNBC Tv18. Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, Honorable Union Minister of Textiles and I&B, has kindly consented to contribute to the discussion and invite eminent dignitaries on our behalf for the ceremony and discussion.
You will be pleased to know that registrations for space booking and buyers are now open for the Diamond edition of India International garment Fair 2018, scheduled from 17-19 January at Pragati maidan, New Delhi. If your Buyers or you have not registered already, I would suggest prompt registration and bookings.
The pages in my diary and a slight chill in the morning air tell me it is that time of the year again…wish all of you a very healthy and sunny winter as you prepare to welcome the new year soon.
Ashok G Rajani