The Government of India has this week raised import duties on a large number of textiles and apparel by up to 20%.

Spread across 37 broad tariff areas, the higher duties target products for which India's imports are low. This includes fibres, knitwear, hosiery, certain types of vegetable textile fibres, some varieties of fabric, and carpets.

It is understood a total of 45 changes, including changes in specific rates as well as ad valorem rates, have been made. In most cases, the effective duty rate has been doubled.

India last increased import duties on textiles in October 2017, which was for a more broader set of products. However, apparel exports have witnessed a downtrend since then.

The country's readymade garment industry saw exports decline by nearly 4% in fiscal year 2018 – the first year of implementation of the new goods and service tax.

RMG exports fell from US$17.4bn in 2017 to $16.7bn last year, representing a 3.8% decline. In rupee terms, exports were down 7.6%.