Apparel exports of the country have stagnated in past three years at around US $17 billion and have witnessed a drop in past three months, said a top industry representative on Thursday.Free Trade Agreements of India’s competitors with buyer countries and currency equations have capped India’s exports. Even after the roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country taxes to the tune of 12% have not been subsumed in GST resulting in higher input cost resulting in costlier products.”Petroleum and other products have been kept out of GST and so there is an additional tax incidence of about 12%. India’s competitors have FTA with buyers, their currency has depreciated so their exports are rising,” said Ashok Rajani, President of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) while talking to media persons in Ahmedabad while inaugurating the office of AEPC in the premises of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).According to AEPC data, exports of Ready Made Garments (RMG) stood at Rs 17,479 crore in 2016-17, a rise of just 2.9% over exports worth Rs 16,990 crore in 2015-16, while 2014-15 witnessed exports worth Rs 16,847 crore.He said apparel makers in the city that the partnership between AEPC and GCCI will yield fruits as Gujarat is strong in production of cotton, manmade fibers and fabrics, while AEPC has strong roots in apparel and exports.

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FTA, GST hurting Apparel exports: AEPC