Amid the steep hike in air freight charges and 18% GST imposed by the Centre, the Qatar World Cup has brought some cheer to the ailing export industry here.
Though there has been a slump in the export of perishable goods from the State of late, the export of jersey, T-shirts, tracksuits and caps manufactured in Tirupur through the airports in the State has boosted the export to some extent.
Seventeen garment consignments were sent to Doha from Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) from October 1 to November 12. A senior officer of CIAL told The Hindu that all these items were shipped to Doha under the garment category. After the imposition of GST and a hike in air freight charges, there was a slight dip in export of all types of cargo.
However, unlike to other destinations, the cargo shipment to Doha was not affected in a big way. Apart from garments, the shipment of perishable items like vegetables, fruits, and spices to Doha was on the track.
Kerala Exporters’ Forum secretary Munshid Ali said the export of jersey, T-shirts, tracksuits and caps sourced from Tirupur was temporary. Once the World Cup was over, things would be back to square one. But it was a solace for the export industry for the time being, he said.
A leading export agency in Kochi said the industry in Kerala had nothing to do with it as it was mainly export deals between the overseas consignees and the manufacturers in Tirupur. “Our role is just limited to facilitating the export. Although the buoyancy in the sector is for a shorter period, this is a relief for the agencies involved in the shipment of general cargo here,” said the manager of the agency.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Exporters’ Forum has submitted a representation to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commissioner of State Taxes, Kerala GST department, Thiruvananthapuram, seeking to withdraw the newly implemented Integrated GST (IGST) of 5% on ocean export freight and 18% on air freight. “The exporters are not in a position to compete in the international market due to the high freight charges prevailing in the industry. We are losing many orders in the international market due to this. Further, the exporters are not able to claim input tax credit of the IGST charged by the transporter on the freight charges or get a refund on this,” said Mr. Ali.