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Apparel exporter body seeks early CEPA pact with Australia

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The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Australia.

According to the industry body, the agreement will more than triple India’s apparel exports to Australia in three years time.

The AEPC has approached Prime Minister Modi as he is scheduled to hold a virtual bilateral summit on June 4 with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

“An early conclusion of the India-Australia CEPA would surely impact Indian apparel exports positively. As per our estimates, India can increase additional exports of $500 million in the next three years, if the CEPA with Australia is concluded,” AEPC said in its letter.

AEPC Chairman A. Sakthivel, in the letter, said the Indian apparel exporters are desirous of engaging with Australia in a big way.

“It is our sincere prayer and request to have an early CEPA with Australia and to include apparels as a focus product to enter the Australian market in a large way,” he said.

AEPC said that Australia is the 18th largest importer of apparel with $6.6 billion imports in 2019.

“Australia presently has preferential agreements with our major competitors like China and Vietnam. Australia also gives GSP benefits to Bangladesh and Cambodia, resulting in a 5 per cent duty advantage for these countries vis-a-vis India,” Sakthivel said, adding that the bilateral discussions should also include India-Australia CEPA.

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