Indian textile and apparel industry has been from a long time looking to have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, but now after Brexit it is being said that India should prefer to have FTA with the UK because discussion with the EU is taking a lot of time. Negotiations have now started with the UK and the deal will take effect when the island nation exits the EU. Britain will work for a “future FTA” with India, one of its key investment and trading partners, British chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said after a three-and-a-half-hour marathon meeting with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He was addressing 9th India-UK Economic & financial Dialogue in New Delhi.
Apparel Resources talked to various Indian apparel exporters regarding this and most of them prefer to have FTA with the UK as things are not moving with the US. However, few exporters still prefer to have things finalized with the EU… Sudhir Dhingra, CMD, Orient Craft, Gurgaon says, “In today’s world where Brexit is happening and Trump is in the power in the US, India has a great opportunity to negotiate beneficial trade agreements on bilateral basis, with all our importing partners particularly in UK, US and Europe. These countries need India to sell their merchandise and gain market share in Indian market, which must be used as a tool to the advantage of Indian garment industry. This is the only way Indian garment industry will grow and millions of jobs be created, which India is in dire need of.”
Arun Jain, Director, Jain Shawls, Ludhiana shares, “India should avoid this agreement with the UK as it will may affect our relations with the EU. India should only concentrate on the EU, and put more efforts to do these kinds of agreements as it is a more potential market for us.” Ramesh Verma, President, Diamond Exports, Panipat believes that India is already doing so much trade with the UK, and the EU had never showed us any negative reaction. But why to tap smaller market if we can get the bigger one…? he questions.
Exporters too say that there is nothing from the EU’s side. “FTA with the EU is delaying and if we harm our other markets for that, it will be a negative decision for us,” says RG Tantia, Director, VT Exports, Kolkata.