Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman A Sakthivel on Thursday claimed that the apparel exports from India will grow by about 40 percent this fiscal.

Addressing the members at 41st Annual General Meeting of the Council, Sakthivel said AEPC is working with a target to achieve a 40 percent increase in apparel exports this financial year, with major focus on new medical textiles.

“This will take our total apparel exports up from $15.4 billion last fiscal to about $22 billion in 2020-21,” he said.

Addressing the AGM through video conferencing, Sakthivel said though COVID19 is the most disruptive health crisis in modern human history, India and the world will achieve faster progress and new quality of development as every adversity presents multiple new opportunities.

Congratulating Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal for announcing India’s readiness to sign the initial limited trade package with the US, the AEPC chief said the trading atmosphere in the US is looking good and there are positive sentiments for engaging with India as a reliable partner in the global value chain.

Sakthivel said the Council has already requested the government for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US and this initial limited trade package could be a precursor for the much desired bilateral FTA.

Besides, the AEPC has requested the government to thoroughly review all the existing trade pacts with the EU, UK, US, Australia and Canada to remove the disadvantages.

Free Trade Agreements with USA, UK and EU along with CEPA with Australia and Canada can help double apparel exports in three years, Sakthivel said.

He thanked Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani for taking several bold and pragmatic initiatives to help the industry during the crisis period.

The AEPC chairman told the members to get into Man Made Fibre (MMF) based garments in a big way going by the global demand pattern.

“The need of the hour is to quickly engage in product diversification into MMF. We plan to sign MoUs with a number of MMF manufacturers, including Reliance Industries Ltd, to improve the sector. MMF is the key to increasing India’s textile exports to the global market,” Sakthivel said, stressing on the need to improve design and processing.

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