PM announces duty-free import from Bangladesh

PM announces duty-free import from Bangladesh

Dhaka: Bangladeshi garment manufacturers have welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement of duty-free access to 46 textile items from the country, saying the move would further encourage contract manufacturing by Indian exporters and boost exports.

Bangladesh had been pressing for the last two years to get duty waiver on 61 products. Of the products, 47 were apparel items including pants, shirts, blouses, skirts, kids wear, cotton nightwear, jeans, swimwear and tracksuits.

Salim Osman, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said Bangladeshi apparel makers will do well in Indian market. “I am hopeful that our clothes will be competitive in terms of both quality and prices," said the BKMEA president. “Our export earnings will double in the years ahead due to an opening of market opportunities in India," said Osman.

He also said the zero duty benefit will give a boost to the hosiery industry, which employs three lakh people, by widening the market opportunities for undergarments. The duty-free benefit will give rise to opportunities for contract manufacturing by Indian firms as well, he said.

David Hasanat, chairman of leading clothes maker Viyellatex Group, said the duty-free benefit will help boost garment exports to India which has a market in the form of growing middle class.

In April this year, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma had announced duty-free import of garments from Bangladesh from 8 to ten million pieces.

Hasanat said Bangladeshi clothes are better than those of India in terms of quality.

Singh, on a visit to Dhaka, had announced the unilateral trade concession to Bangladeshi textiles after his talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking to address Dhaka’s concern over huge trade surplus with Bangladesh.

While exports from India to Bangladesh more than doubled to $4.05 billion in 2010-11 from $1,998.58 million in fiscal 2006-07, according to official data, imports from Bangladesh is to the tune of about $400 million.