Duty levels and import procedures on yarns and fabrics should be eased to assist India's beleaguered garment industry, according to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

AEPC chairman Dr A Sakthivel, on hearing that the country’s Commerce Industry is set to announce “certain sops” or incentives to the garment industry, made a series of proposals in a letter to Commerce Secretary Shri S R Rao.

The measures amount to an easing of duty levels and import procedures for yarns and fabrics, which Dr Sakthivel said would enable India to compete with rival garment-producing countries.

“Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia do not have raw material of their own and they have achieved phenomenal growth through easy import policy of yarn and fabrics,” he said.

“The current scheme of advance licence in the Foreign Trade Policy of our country… allows duty free import but it is a tedious route and is not used extensively by the exporters.”

He added that, if adopted, the measures would enable garment export growth of 10% in the rest of 2012/13, and a doubling of garment exports in the next three years.

Dr Sakthivel pointed out that the garment industry employs 11.22m people and generated precious foreign exchange for India, adding: “This would greatly help in reducing our trade deficit.”