NEW DELHI, Sept 16:Hailing the measures announced by the government to bolster exports, Council for Leather Exports (CLE) on Monday demanded an increase in duty free limit for leather garments to 5 per cent to help boost shipments of the sector.
CLE Chairman Panaruna Aqeel said India is the second largest global exporter of leather garments and enhancing the duty free limit will help achieve the top position.
“We are requesting for enhancement of duty free limit for leather garment exporters from 3 per cent to 5 per cent of FOB (freight on board) value of exports as this will help revive exports from this segment which has been showing decline of about 13 per cent this year,” Aqeel said.
Aqeel also said easy and timely availability of credit with affordable interest levels is extremely important for leather and footwear sector as this alone can help in tapping the huge opportunities available in global markets.
“In this context, the finance minister has announced major steps including measures to improve trade credit flows and transmission of interest rate cuts by banks, monitoring export finance through an inter-ministerial group in Department Of Commerce,” he said in a statement.
He added that Priority Sector Lending norms for export finance would galvanize the sector particularly the MSMEs which are affected by the slowdown.
“Being a consumer oriented sector and being predominantly concentrated in MSME segment, leather and footwear sector has been facing challenges on the export front due to factors like recessionary trends and fierce price competition,” the chairman said.
Currently, export of leather and its products stands at about USD 6 billion. Major export destinations include Europe and the US. The sector employs about 42 lakh people.
Leather and leather products exports dipped by about 4 per cent to USD 473 million in July. (PTI)