Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. (File photo)
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has written a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, requesting him to look into the issue of imports of fabrics from Vietnam and Bangladesh post the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
The Deputy CM’s letter to Jaitley comes in the wake of a meeting with the representatives of Federation of Gujarat Weavers Association (FOGWA) and Federation of Indian Art Silk Weaving industry (FIASWI) who had met detailed representation to Patel on how import of “cheap” fabrics from Vietnam and Bangladesh has hurt the local industry, leading to layoffs in the sector.
According to FOGWA and FIASWI, post the GST, import of silk, knitted fabrics, garments etc from Vietnam and Bangladesh has doubled — import from Vietnam has increased from 2,07920 square metres in 2015-16 to 4,84,990 square metres in 2017-18 — and the total fabric import in 2017-18 has already touched 10,32,410 square metres.
The textile representatives also reminded the government that India has signed free trade treaties and has given Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to the two countries.
In his letter to Jaitley, Deputy Chief Minister has stated that following the advent of GST, cheaper import of natural fabric and silk have posed fresh challenge to local industry in Gujarat.
“We are happy that Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had acted on our request and sent a letter to the Union Finance Minister apprising him of our issues. Due to such cheap imports from Vietnam and Bangladesh, the local industry has to face great problems. We are hopeful that Union Finance Minister will look into the issue and bring out solution.
We are ready to meet him if invited and share the details,” FIASWI chairman Bharat Gandhi told The Sunday Express.
The textile industry has been facing a slump for the past few years, and the advent of GST in July last year had added to its woes.
The Gujarat government has declared that it will announce a new textile policy ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which is scheduled to take place in January, 2019. The last textile policy was unveiled in 2012 and it had expired last year.