Chairman's word - September 2017

Dear Friends,

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the goal of all the efforts of the council is to create the most conducive and friendly environment for all of us to conduct our businesses, successfully.

We are very proud of having hosted Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon , UK Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who visited our AEPC campus in Gurugram, to launch a drive towards ‘Gender equality at workplace’. The programme, funded by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is being launched in partnership with leading British brands and Indian manufacturers. As custodians of the sector that provides over $3 billion in wages to the women’s workforce alone, we remain a driving force behind building safe workplaces in the country.

I would like to express my gratitude to Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance, GoI and Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Union Minister of Textiles, GoI and for considering our plea and reducing the GST on apparel job work from 18% to 5%. I hope the reduction mitigates some pressure on the Industry and helps improve the affected situation of working capital.

We are not leaving any stone unturned in our efforts towards enabling a post-transition period (from Oct 01, 2017) ROSL rate, which reimburses all other blocked and embedded taxes. We have been working on refund of IGST, paid on import of machinery for use by apparel manufacturer exporters. The issue of GST on air freight charges levied on the exports of goods from India has also been discussed with concerned ministries and you can be hopeful of a positive outcome.

As you are aware, wages constitute almost 30% of FOB in apparel. Anxiety and confusion over the issue of minimum wages after the clearance of the Wage Code Bill by the Cabinet was understandable. We have been in conversation on this and highlighted the risks associated with any one-sided decision. We will keep you abreast with developments on this front.

I am pleased to let you know as a part of our export promotion initiatives, we successfully concluded our participation in Sourcing at Magic, Las Vegas with 64 booths and booked/negotiated business of 3.83 mn USD. We also look forward to a very fruitful India Trend Fair in Tokyo, Japan at the end of this month, as we busily make bookings for the space.

India has to now move towards WTO-compatible, production-based subsidies from export-based subsidies, in the wake of having achieved the threshold figures in exports. Schemes such as the Merchandise Exports from India, Export Promotion Capital Goods and interest equalization for the textiles sector under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 are likely to get impacted. We do recognize the need to provide support for technology upgradation, capacity building and resolve infrastructure bottlenecks as we move away from direct incentives to exporters. We are, therefore, actively working on these fronts with some meritorious suggestions received from Manthan 2017, recently in July.

Friends, as we move forward with hope and optimism, let the spirit of victory over evil, that is so central to this festive month, also define your deeds and lives.

Wish your family and you a very Happy Dusshera!