The Indian government has sought easy access for its ethnic wear products to Bangladesh saying that business opportunities in the industry had remained untapped between the two countries.
The Indian textiles ministry recently proposed to Bangladesh to create a special provision for export of its ethnic wear products such as kurtas and kurtis, salwar suits, bottoms like churidaars, palazzos and leggings, sarees and blouse sets, skirts, sherwanis, jackets, kotis, indo-western dresses and gowns to Bangladesh for mutual benefits.
Bangladesh and India have taken a move to sign a memorandum of understanding to enhance trade and economic relations in a balanced manner by expanding business and cooperation in the sphere of textiles, including cotton, jute, silk, handlooms, clothing and fashion industries and skills training institutions.
In the draft memorandum, India proposed to collaborate in the ethnic wear industry for mutual benefits and to explore the global opportunities in this untapped segment.
It also sought Bangladesh’s assistance to open retail stores to promote sales of ethnic wear.
India made the proposal at a meeting held to scrutinise the draft memorandum at the textiles ministry in Bangladesh on September 23.
Earlier, Clothing Manufacturers Association of India chief mentor Rahul Mehta, in a letter, requested the Indian textiles ministry to take an initiative so that their ethnic wear products could get easy access to Bangladesh with special tariff.
Signing of the MoU with Bangladesh for the textile industry would indeed be an extremely important step to assist the domestic garment industry of India, he said in his letter.
‘Apart from concerns regarding unrestricted Imports of Garments from Bangladesh – which I am fully aware has severe constraints – this could be an excellent opportunity for us to push for lowering of tariffs for Imports of Indian Garments into Bangladesh,’ the letter said.
The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India suggested that its government should include the issue of ethnic clothing in the memorandum as the items were not being manufactured in any significant quantity in Bangladesh, and at the same time had good demand locally.
‘You will recall that keeping in mind Bangladesh’s concerns about protecting their Domestic Industry, we had suggested having a separate tariff for Ethnic Clothing, and possibly the need for creating a unique HS Code for this Category,’ Rahul said in his letter.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association first vice-president Mohammad Hatem said that they were examining the draft memorandum considering the mutual benefits for both countries.
‘Bangladesh’s textile sector would be benefited if we get technical support from India. But we do not agree with India’s proposal for easy access of its ethnic wear products to Bangladesh as a good number of local manufacturers are making the products,’ he said.
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