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Focus on cluster-based units -- Tirupur hosiery sector hails policy thrust

G. Gurumurthy

COIMBATORE, March 31

THE new long-term Exim Policy unveiled by the Union Commerce Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, on Sunday has elated the Tirupur knitwear industry.

For the first time, the Commerce Ministry has recognised the cluster-based industry while formulating the export policy. Making a special mention of Tirupur as a part of the cluster-based hosiery (for cotton wears) sector along with similar textile clusters such as Panipat (hand-woven woollen) and Ludhiana (woollen knitwear), Mr Maran has tried to widen the export promotion benefits available to these clusters, so that the benefits of the Exim policy initiatives percolate down to these `centres of export excellence.'

The export thrust given to the Tirupur knitwear sector in the 2002-2007 Exim Policy, includes extending EPCG eligibility to all common service providers in the Tirupur exporting zone. This, according to Tirupur industry sources, should encourage industries directly connected with the hosiery manufacturers.

Another special dispensation to cluster-based exporting units is the extension of a market access initiative (MAI) programme.

The access of funds under MAI to promote new market development, would be made available to recognised associations of exporters.

This should encourage new marketing initiative such as brand promotion.

The Tirupur hosiery exporters are currently pursuing a generic brand for knitwear products.

The new policy has also allowed hassle-free import of fabric by the exporters under the already operating duty-free import of trimmings and embellishments up to 3 per cent of their f.o.b value of exports.

Similarly, the Commerce Ministry has also conceded the garment exporters' suggestion to allow variation of 10 per cent in GSM for fabrics imported under the advance licence scheme for re-exports, considering the exigencies in handling garment fashion trends.

The Tirupur Exporters' Association has hailed the new Exim policy for its focus on cluster-based exporting industries.

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