NEW DELHI: India’s apparel exports target of $17 billion for the current fiscal is likely to be met as shipments have registered a robust growth of about 31 per cent in October, apparel apex body AEPC today said.

Garment exports witnessed the highest growth last month in the current fiscal to $1.19 billion, compared to $909 million in October of last fiscal, according to the data provided by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

“Our efforts and investments in the right markets coupled with the government support have paid the dividends. There is a good demand not only in traditional markets like the US and Europe but also in emerging markets like Latin America.

“So, we expect apparel exports would meet the target (of $17 billion) set by the government,” AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said.

The US and Europe together account for about 66 per cent of the country’s total apparel shipments.

Garment exports have picked up really fast in the first seven months of 2013-14, compared to last fiscal. During April-October, shipments have increased by 15.5 per cent year- on-year to about $8.25 billion.

Last fiscal, garment exports had declined by 6 per cent to $12.92 billion. The apparel exports accounted for almost 39 per cent of the country’s total textiles exports worth about $32 billion in the last fiscal.

AEPC said the sector consists of a large number of small and medium exporters who have been facing the credit crunch.

“We request for a separate chapter for pre/post packing credit rate. The exporters should get credit at 7.5 per cent as the existing rate of about 12 per cent is quite high,” Sakthivel said.

The Reserve Bank should consider this so that momentum of garment export growth is sustained, he said, adding that any investment or incentive to this sector has a big potential of employment generation and can spur manufacturing.

The garment exports industry employs about 11 million workers in the country.