Chairman's word for February 2018

Dear Friends
The New Year brings with it a lot of optimism, mingled with some anxieties.  Optimism from expectation of higher economic growth and fewer disruptive events.  Anxieties from global uncertainties....the lingering impact of demonetization and implementation of Goods & service tax and of course what the Budget has in store for us. 

The Union Budget had some positive news for the industry. AEPC welcomed the optimism on GDP growth targets and measures to boost agriculture and health - both impacting the stakeholders in the industry. The reduction in corporate tax for SMEs with turnover upto Rs. 250 Cr would also augur well for a vast section of our industry.   
The textile industry got an increased allocation of Rs 7148 cr which included an increased allocation of Rs 2163.85 cr for RoSL for 2018-19, as against Rs 1855 cr for 2017-18. I hope this additional fund of 308.85 cr will be sufficient to meet the backlog and increased requirement towards accommodating embedded taxes and targeted growth in exports to USD 20 bn. I have already requested the Ministry for immediate release of all pending ROSL and GST refunds as I am aware of the acute financial constraints the industry is facing.
The apparel industry is a women oriented Industry - the proposed reduction in the women's contribution to EPF to 8% from the present 12% will encourage women participation in this sector further. I would like to inform our friends that AEPC has sent its pre- budget proposals to Ministry of textiles for their consideration. In our submission to the Ministry of textiles, we have raised Issues such as Exemption of IGST on import under EPC scheme, Exemption of Apparel Buying agent from paying taxes, duty free import of sample fabrics under EPC scheme. The Industry is looking forward to an early redemption of these issues in order to keep the sector floating.

I am happy to share that an important recommendation of the Council had been accepted by the GST Council in its meeting, held on 18.01.2018 - the decision to exempt GST on air and sea freight till 30th September, 2018. I am thankful to our Minister of Textiles, Smt Smrit Zubin Irani for taking up the issue and providing this relief to the industry.

We had the privilege of Shri Ajay Tamta, Hon’ble Minister of State (MoS) for Textiles inaugurating the 60th edition of IIGF. The three day international fair has been a great success where 294 exporters from 11 states namely Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal participated in the fair along with 2000 buyers and buying houses.

To sensitize the trade on the new provisions under Mid Term Review of Foreign Trade Policy-2015- 2020, AEPC organized an Interactive Session with Additional DGFT at in Gurgaon. In the open house, the additional DGFT provided an Overview of FTP including the schemes and procedures. I am sure the Industry must have benefited from the session, tremendously. We are planning to organize more such sessions for the benefit of the exporters.

For the development of Apparel sector in the State of West Bengal, AEPC has committed all the possible support to the Government of West Bengal and has also announced setting a Training for Teachers (TOT) Center with the financial support of the State Govt. at Kolkata. This announcement was made by our delegation during the recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit 2018 and   I am quite sure that these measures will help in developing skilled workers for the sector.

Let me inform you that the various Sub-Committees for the year 2018 have been constituted and a detailed list is published in this issue of the magazine. I am hopeful that these Sub-Committees will fulfill their respective objectives. My best wishes to all the Sub-Committee members

Let the Spring bring more colour and vibrancy to this sector!

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HKL Magu