Domestic Textile Firms Hit by Duty-Free Imports from Bangladesh

In a major setback to the already struggling domestic textile industry, the government may remove 61 items, including 48 readymade garments, from the list of protected goods India has so far maintained under Safta, its free trade agreement with SAARC countries.

In a surprise announcement recently, Anand Sharma, the Union commerce minister, said the government was considering removing the restriction on import of readymade garments from Bangladesh ahead of the prime minister’s visit on September 6-7. Bangladesh has been pitching for this for quite some time.

“The decision will hamper the entire Indian textile industry, resulting into massive job losses. Most textile industry including power looms, spinning and dyeing, belongs to the unorganized sector, which has been struggling with low export orders. It would worsen the industry’s condition if the government gives prominence to the Bangladeshi textile industry at the cost of India,” said Shishir Jaipuria, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (Citi).

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