NEW DELHI: Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) – an apex body of India's apparel exporters – launched a comprehensive program for meeting the REACH regulations imposed by European Union. The programme will consist of awareness workshops across India, an interactive website with all relevant information on the regulation as also a help desk to address all queries of exporters on REACH compliance. The first of the series of workshops was conducted in New Delhi yesterday. This initiative was supported by GIZ, and SIDBI.
The EU imposed Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulations came in to force effective from June 1st, 2007 with a view to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. With these regulations, the manufacturers, importers and downstream users need to ensure that they manufacture, place on the market, or use such substances that do not adversely affect human health or environment. From 1st June 2011, all EUmanufacturers and EU-based importers producing or importing "articles", like apparel, have to notify the chemical substances mentioned under the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list. Currently, 53 substances have been identified as SVHC substances. Presence of such substances can lead to heavy penalties or even burning of consignments.
During the seminar, Mr. Praveen Nayyar, Senior Vice Chairman of AEPC inaugurated the online help desk created by the team of REACH Support. The website will include elements like regulations, SVHS list (describing a list of substances of high concern), Compliance, FAQs and guidance in terms of queries. The objective is to enhance the understanding of the companies/ members/users about the REACH regulation and much more. Visit www.apparelreach.com.
Commenting on AEPC's initiative to educate its members on the implications of REACH regulations, Mr. Nayyar said, "Such workshops by AEPC will prove to be beneficial to the entire apparel industry and it is the duty of the exporters to spread the information down the value chain as well. The online help desk will notify regularly about the new substances, chemicals and the exporters must use the updated SVHC list to be on a safer side. I would request them to visit the help desk and understand the regulations further."
AEPC has charted out plans to further transmit knowledge to its members all over India by conducting more workshops starting in cities like Jaipur, Mumbai, Tirupur and Bangalore.
These workshops educated the exporters on required due diligences to be carried out as also how to reduce their costs on testing. Another important issue raised was of educating the suppliers to garment industries, like fabrics, dyes, printing, button, trims and other accessories – items which are part of the apparel exported and need to comply with the REACH regulation. But most of these suppliers are in unorganized sector and have little knowledge of REACH. Adding further, Ms. Chandrima Chatterjee, Director Compliance and Economic & Consultancy at AEPC said, "Indian garment industry is the most disadvantaged by this regulation. Unlike mass manufacturers like China, testing per consignment for fashion garments is much more difficult and costly. India specialises in fashion garments, with lot of value additions and embellishments. Compliance requires testing of these embellishments also. A manufacturer supplying small lots of such products to EU will incur very high testing charges."
India accounts for 5 per cent of the world's textile exports and 4 per cent of its clothing exports and it is one of the major suppliers to the EU countries, thus, these REACH regulations will have a long lasting implication on the Indian apparel industry. Exporters of apparels need to comply with these before exporting to the EU countries and they need to meet the deadlines mentioned in the concerned notifications.
Present in the seminar were R K Das, General Manager, SIDBI; Mr. Bernd Dunzlaff, Head of Economic Cooperation and Development, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Mr. Mikael Hezler, Managing Director of Adelphi.
Incorporated in 1978, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) is the official body of garment exporters that provides invaluable assistance to Indian exporters as well as importers/international buyers who choose India as their preferred sourcing destination for garments. With 40 offices and 8,000 small, medium and large garment exporters across India, AEPC today has grown to become the most powerful association for promotion and facilitation of garment manufacturing and exports. With an objective of building a strong ground for the Indian exporters, AEPC is committed to provide various platforms to Indian exporters which would help in achieving growth of garment exports. Visit www.aepcindia.com for more details.