Govt allows export of COVID-19 PPE medical coveralls; quota fixed at 50 lakh units/month
Partially relaxing export norms, the Indian government on Monday permitted shipments of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) medical coveralls for COVID-19 with an export quota of 50 lakh units per month.
The product was banned for export earlier, but has now been moved to the restricted category, under which an exporter would have to seek a licence from the government for shipments.
In a notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said, "A monthly quota of 50 lakh PPE medical coverall for COVID-19 units has been fixed for issuance of export licence to the eligible applicants to export PPE medical coveralls for COVID-19 as per the criteria to be separately issued in a trade notice."
All other items that are part of the PPE kits remain prohibited, and the monthly quota shall not be applicable on the export of these items, it said. These products, which are in huge demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, include medical goggles, all masks other than non-medical/non-surgical (cotton, silk, wool, polyester, nylon rayon, viscose - knitted, woven, or blended), nitrile gloves, and face shield.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, saying, "Boosting Make in India exports, PPE medical coveralls for COVID-19 have been allowed with a monthly export quota of 50 lakh."
DGFT has also laid out a detailed procedure and criteria for export of PPE coveralls. An exporter has to apply online through a DGFT's system for export authorisation, and there is no need to send a hard copy of the application.
"Only applications for export of PPE medical coveralls for COVID-19 filed from 1st to 3rd day of each month will be considered for the quota of that month," the directorate said, adding, all approvals/allocations will be done by 10th of every month.
The validity of the export licence will be for three months only.
Further, it said that the firm applying should be a manufacturer of PPE coveralls, and copy of testing/accreditation of the product shall be issued to the firms from the laboratories notified/recognised by the textiles ministry.
"The firm shall either submit a copy of importing country's PPE medical coveralls standards certificate obtained by it, or a copy of Bureau of Indian Standards certificate obtained by it, if the importing country does not insist on a standard certificate," it added.
All the relevant documents have to be submitted along with the online application to fulfil the eligibility criteria, and incomplete applications will not be considered for any allocation, it said.
Earlier on June 22, the government had decided to continue exports ban only on specific PPE such as medical coveralls of all classes and goggles. It had banned the export of all PPE, including clothing and masks on January 31.
Hailing the decision, Apparel Export Promotion Council of India (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said the government should also allow the export of N95 masks.
The decision to permit the export of PPE medical coveralls has opened the entire global market for domestic players who were fast enough to seize this opportunity of producing and supplying PPE kits, as the world struggles to control coronavirus pandemic, Sakthivel said.
The production of PPE is more than sufficient to cater to the needs of the country, and allowing exports of such items will not only help the health workers across the world, but also support the revival of the apparel industry in the country, he added.
The council has been requesting the government to allow these exports as the production of PPE has increased to over eight lakh units per day.
"A single mask manufacturing machine can produce one lakh pieces per day, and we have more than 200 such machines currently," he said.
The government should soon extend the export opportunity for N95 masks as well, he said, adding, the size of the global market for PPEs is more than $60 billion for the next five years.
The chairman further said that India is in competition with countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan as they have lifted the ban on PPE exports, and are receiving huge orders from large buyers in the US and Europe.