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India's garment exports set to hit $20bn

 
India's garment exports are expected to reach US$20bn for the current fiscal year, new estimates show, thanks to improved market conditions in the US.
According to the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), exports are forecast to achieve 15-18% growth, the group told India's Economic Times. This will be up from $17bn in the last fiscal year, which registered 15% growth.
 
The US is India's largest export market for garments, representing around 30%, the CMAI says. The country is now looking at other potential markets, including South America, the Middle East, the EU, and Japan.
CMAI president Rahul Mehta told the publication that growth of 13%, in dollar terms, achieved in the last 5-6 months is primarily due to the apparel package announced in July last year.
 
He said demonetisation last year had not hit the industry, and the proposed GST (Goods and Services Tax) rates implementation is also unlikely to have an adverse impact. Although, he said there could be some confusion and uncertainty in the initial 2-3 months for manufacturers.
 
More than 70,000 synthetic textile traders in India's textile hub of Surat, Gujarat, took part in a five-day strike last week to protest against the country's new Goods and Services Tax (GST) system, which came into force on 1 July.
 
While the GST is supposed to simplify sales taxes for clothing and textile companies, replacing a myriad of national, state and local charges, it will force most businesses to report every transaction on the government's taxation portal. Only those with annual sales under INR2m (US$31,000) are exempt, and this is upsetting smaller traders who do not want to undertake such bookkeeping.
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