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India Decides To Limit Chinese Imports

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, India is trying to limit its dependence on China for imports by imposing high rates of Tariffs on Chinese Products. This will also encourage more domestic small scale businesses to capture the market which was earlier captured by the Chinese imports.

The Bureau of Indian Standards is going the task of finalising tougher norms for at least 370 products. This will eventually assure the promotion of local products. These products include chemicals, steel, electronics, heavy machinery, furniture, paper, industrial machinery, rubber articles, glass, metal articles, pharmaceutical products, fertilizer and plastic toys. This means that the homegrown industries of India will be encouraged to produce more of these goods and will help in reducing the burden on Chinese imports for these products.

There are some discussions with regards to raising the import duty on products like furniture compressors for air conditioners and auto components. However, the proposal is still not finalised and is under evaluation process which is being done by the Finance Ministry.

In order to not defy the rules set up by the World Trade Organisation, the Trade Ministry has taken up the task of evaluating non-tariff measures in order to check Chinese imports in its hands. These measures would primarily include, inspections, product testing and enhanced quality certification requirement. All this is being done because somewhere down the line India is still dependent on Chinese imports and the harsh truth is that these inspections are being done to discourage Chinese imports and to also make sure that more cases of corona do not erupt in India due to these imports. This is because India’s COVID-19 situation is still very bad and many states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu the situation is even worse. So precautions are being taken in the best way possible.

China is the biggest importer to India with purchases ranging from electronic goods to industrial machinery and organic chemicals. It gets a trade surplus of about $50 billion from New Delhi alone. Hence, the need for Import substitution becomes all the more important. The need for this, originated after disruptions to raw materials from China were seen in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The more challenging questions that lie before us are whether India will be able to find local substitutes for the products that were imported by china? Whether the domestic markets will be able to cater to the demands of the huge population of India? Do they have the same technological knowhow to produce those products? All these questions are still unanswered but we will get the answers once this norm of high tariffs is implemented. Till then, the government should try and promote the local businesses as far as possible as they are the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and people should be urged to buy more of the local brands rather than foreign brands.

This will help in boosting our economy and will also help small scale industries. The more homegrown industries make profits, the less dependent we will be on China especially in times like this where most of the countries are trying to boycott this country due to the coronavirus pandemic. As citizens, we should understand the need to fulfil our basic needs with locally produced goods so that they do not run into losses. After all, Gandhiji rightly said that “If you give me rice I’ll eat today. If you teach me how to grow rice, I’ll eat every day.


Rudra Prasad, 4th year Law student, currently pursuing Law from Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, NMIMS University, Mumbai.

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