Apparel industry urges Centre to clear imports from China

The Indian apparel industry has sought the government’s support in expediting the clearance of import consignments from China saying the undue delay is impacting their operations and might result in further financial losses.

“Lately, customs authorities at several ports are doing 100 per cent examination of goods originating from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. This has created undue delay in clearance of imported shipments of inputs which are meant for manufacture of garments for exports,” Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said in a letter to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Chairman M. Ajit Kumar.

AEPC is among several industry bodies which have in the past couple of days complained of delayed custom clearance amid stricter examination of imports coming in from China. The developments come amid the border tussle along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“It is affecting factory operations as inputs are held up at ports and exporters are in fear that they will fail to meet the delivery schedule,” Sakthivel said.

The chairman said that the business was gearing up to get back to the normal after the relaxation of lockdown in India and other foreign countries, however, the recent delay in clearing the import consignments from China was adding to the crisis.

The apparel Industry is dependent on several inputs that are domestically not available or as per the buyers’ nomination has to be imported. So far, such imports were subject to random and partial checks only, the AEPC letter said.

“The situation at all airports and seaports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Tuticorin and others is precarious as there is inordinate delay caused on all import consignments which are held up due to 100 per cent open examination by customs, who are not processing the documents for the shipments originated from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” Sakthivel said.

The council has requested the government to urgently intervene in the matter to expedite the process of clearing the shipments of inputs which are held up at ports or going through 100 per cent inspections.

“Special priority should be given to manufacturer exporters who are dependent on these imports to service their export orders,” Sakthivel added.

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