Against the backdrop of a slowdown in demand for garments, both in the domestic and export markets, apparel manufacturers have ramped up the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to 800,000 units per day.
The chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), Dr A Sakthivel, said that the Indian apparel export industry, which showed great agility in switching to the production of PPE kits and scaled it up from zero units to 800,000 units per day in less than four months, now wanted to grab the lion’s share in the $60 billion global market over the next five years.
The industry could rejig large production facilities to manufacture PPE kits by re-purposing their production lines amidst a nationwide lockdown that disrupted material, labour and supply chains, he said.
India is playing ‘pharmacy of the world’ role, says SCO
The AEPC has requested the government to lift the ban on the export of PPE kits and has sent letters to Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani over the issue.
“Countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and others have lifted the ban on PPE exports and are receiving huge orders. We are afraid to lose export markets to our competing countries. The production of PPE kits is more than sufficient to cater to the needs of the country and can be opened up for exports,” Sakthivel said, adding that the US and the Europe were the largest potential buyers.
He noted that Pakistan had received export orders worth $100 million last week and these were likely to go up to $500 million. Bangladesh had also aggressively protected its global business from countries like the US, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Kuwait while tackling the pandemic, he said.
Sakthivel pointed out that the US Federal Emergency Management Agency had created an ‘air bridge’ to quickly get medical supplies like 2.25 million PPE kits exported from Vietnam.
“India is also part of the US ‘air bridge’ initiative. We should not lose out on an attractive global business opportunity and the need of the hour is to initiate PPE exports. India should consider the economic and political dividends that timely PPE exports will generate in the post Covid-19 era,” Sakthivel added.
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