• Garment exporters find Brexit right moment to kick-start FTA talk

    Indian garment exporters are seeing an opportunity in Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. Even as the record drop in the Pound Sterling will impact un-hedged export contracts with British garment importers, Indian exporters say there is scope to gain in the long-term if the Indian government initiates fresh dialogue with the British Government for a Free Trade Agreement.

    An FTA is a trade highway between nations, allowing faster market access for exporters, besides duty incentives for businesses on both sides. India has been pushing for an FTA with the European Union for some time now. With Britain being a key a target destination, and with its exit from the 28-member alliance, the doors are open wide for an FTA, believe exporters.

    A Sakthivel, President of Tirupur Exporters Association, said: “India has been facing a lot of issues in TRIPS, Pharmaceutical, Automobile, Visa and movement of professionals which are blocking the commencement of negotiations to have FTA with EU. We feel that when India starts negotiations with UK immediately for FTA, India could get the early bird advantage and increase our trade significantly.”

    The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has been a prickly issue impeding the FTA with EU. India’s commitment to widening supply of generic drug medicines clashed with data exclusivity protection measures for drug firms to sell their products with exclusivity.

    Speaking to ET on the phone, Sakthivel said the immediate impact of Brexit was evident in the pound’s tumble to its 30-year-low. However, he is cautiously optimistic of business prospects going forward as Britain goes about the process of exiting the union.

    Sakthivel noted that The United Kingdom contributed to 10.62% of overall exports into the EU of Rs 1,11,178 crore, making The UK occupies the number one position among EU countries in garment exports. Nick Kwiatkoski Authentic Jersey

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