INDIA: Curbing sales of Chinese products to government

INDIA: Curbing sales of Chinese products to government

Amid calls for a boycott of Chinese goods after a border clash in June 2020 left 20 Indian Soldiers dead, India’s government instructed sellers to declare the country of origin for goods and services purchased via a state-run online portal. (Pictured: An Indian journalist holds a placard calling for a boycott of Chinese products during a protest in New Delhi on June 30, 2020). 

The government announced the change in requirements for users of its Government e-Marketplace portal in a June statement. It did not single out the People’s Republic of China (PRC), but an official source said the main objective was to identify items coming from the PRC.

Separately, the portal will provide a “Make in India” filter so the government or its agencies could choose to buy only those products that meet the minimum 50% local content criteria, the statement said.

Welcoming the decision, the industry chambers, pressure groups close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, asked the government to extend the new rules to private online platforms.

The economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the guiding body of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said the late June 2020 move would help curb Chinese imports and should be applied to other entities such as Amazon.

“The government should extend the rules to all platforms so that consumers get a choice not to buy Chinese products,” said Ashwani Mahajan, co-convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The portal, which was set up in 2016 to promote small businesses, has been misused by many companies to sell imported Chinese products such as office furniture, computers, air conditioners, auto parts and machinery, according to officials. 

“The decision will encourage domestic producers, as many domestic sellers were so far importing goods from China and selling through this portal,” a government source said.

India is also planning to impose higher trade barriers and raise import duties on about 300 products from the PRC and elsewhere as part of an effort to protect domestic businesses, two government officials said.  Reuters