The Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) has welcomed changes to custom duties that are expected to improve the competitiveness of the region’s knitwear manufacturers. The changes, announced this month, will see an increase in basic customs duty from 10 to 20 per cent for the import of 23 knitted garment items and also one knitted fabric item. Imports of textile products from China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka have been increasing steadily over the last five years with the latest figures showing a compounded annual growth rate of 17 per cent since 2013. Figures also show that imports of readymade garments increased from Rs. 3,994 cr in 2016-17 to Rs. 4,983 cr in 2017-18.