The head of one of India's leading trade associations has hit out at Canada's recent decision to allow duty-free access to garments from Nepal and Bangladesh.

AEPC chairman Virender Uppal says the Canadian government's ruling will damage India's garment exports to Canada - currently worth over $250 million dollars. 

"The garment industry is under severe shock to learn that effective January 2003, garment exports from Bangladesh and Nepal to Canada would be duty-free. Due to this disadvantage, the entire Indian business, which is approximately over 250 million dollars in a year, is under threat," he said.

Uppal added that government help was needed if India is to compete.