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DGFT seeks ministries of health & textiles’ stand over allowing export of PPEs, surgical masks, textile raw materials

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Monday, June 8, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has sought direction from Union ministries of health and family welfare and textiles to lift export restrictions on personal protective kits (other than required for health workers), textile raw materials, surgical masks (except N-95) following representations from exporters.

The DGFT has received various representations from exporters of textile fabric, 2/3 ply surgical masks, PPEs, gowns etc. requesting it to review the export policy concerning these items, considering sufficient domestic availability. The exporters stated that some of the textile material prohibited (5603 HS codes) under DGFT notification No 53 dated March 19, 2020 is not used in making coveralls or masks and therefore must be allowed to be exported.

The FIEO has also requested DGFT to reconsider export policy of PPEs, textile raw materials, 2/3 ply surgical masks (except N-95 masks) to allow their export. FIEO also sought removal of export restriction on all diagnostic kits except COVID-19 test kit.

Following this, DGFT has recently written to ministries of health ministry and textiles to examine the representations and provide their feedback.

DGFT in a notification on April 4, 2020 restricted exports of diagnostic kits (diagnostic or laboratory reagents on a backing, preparation diagnostic or laboratory reagents) with immediate effect.

On March 19, 2020 DGFT had put restriction on export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable (2/3ply) masks and textile raw material for masks and coveralls.

Besides FIEO, the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMED) has also sought removal of export restriction on nitrile industrial gloves and 3-layer surgical masks other than N95 respirator masks.

AiMED forum coordinator Rajiv Nath in a letter to Dr P D Vaghela, chairman of empowered committee of essential medical equipment and secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) and Ravi Capoor, secretary, ministry of textiles on May 19, 2020 stated that besides catering to domestic requirements, 3-layer surgical mask manufacturers in the country have surplus stock. These manufacturers are stopping or slowing down production since last 15-20 days as they have unsold inventory in the wake of falling demand and market prices as public and private healthcare clients are many times preferring to buy low cost 2 and 3 layer masks or nonstandard quality masks without nose clip.

AiMED sought Dr Vaghela and Capoor’s intervention in opening up the export of surgical masks to meet global demand in this COVID-19 pandemic. Nath in another letter to Dr Vaghela on May 29, 2020 sought removal of restriction on export of nitrile industrial gloves which has nothing to do with COVID-19 requirement.


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