Textile Minister Smriti Irani has asked Bangladesh to increase its textile sourcing from India, which lags way behind China, by lowering tariff barriers and other irritants to trade.
She also assured that New Delhi will try to ensure support for supply of quality cotton for the neighbouring country’s spinning industry through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).
The Minister especially made a case for zero duty imports of ethnic apparel from India by Bangladesh while addressing representatives from the government and the textile industry at the ‘India-Bangladesh Virtual Conference on Textiles and Apparel Sector’ on Wednesday.
The China factor
“Today both sides are aware that when we compare our share of imports (of textiles) in Bangladesh with China, while China’s share stands at 54 per cent, we stand at 17 per cent given the high tariffs on Indian textiles and apparel export products,” Irani said.
The dialogue between the Indian and Bangladeshi textile sectors should reflect on these challenges, she said.
“Just like we would like to support through the CCI, the procurement of quality cotton by the spinning industry of Bangladesh, similarly Indian industry can rejoice if Bangladesh allows retail of ethnic apparels from India at zero duties,” she said.
The virtual meet was jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Irani further stated that measures are underway to address the logistics challenges in order to reduce the turn-around-time for movement of cargo between the two countries, and inland waterways will also be leveraged for the same. The issues being faced currently in the movement of cargo through Petrapole and Benapole ports are also being investigated, she said.
Bangladesh’s Minister for Textiles and Jute Golam Dastagir Gazi pointed out that there was a huge potential for further collaboration between Bangladesh and India in the textile & apparel industry, with opportunities for both countries.
The Minister said that barriers to trade in the textile trade of the two countries will be resolved through mutual discussion.
Textiles Secretary Ravi Capoor stressed on the need for developing regional value chains, with India supplying raw materials and Bangladesh exporting value added goods like fabric and apparel clothing to the world.
There was, however, the need for removing the irritants to trade from both sides.