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Ban on Chinese products not feasible: FIEO chief Sharad Saraf

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A ban on Chinese products “will not be feasible” as the country is “heavily dependent” on them, the chief of Federation of Indian Export Organisations said on Thursday amid an economic backlash against China and a call to boycott Chinese goods.

“If China takes retaliatory measures then India will lose more,” the Sharad Kr Saraf, the chief of the FIEO told the media during an online interaction.

The call to boycott Chinese goods started days after 20 soldiers died and more than 70 were injured in a clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan area.

While many traders concur with the call by the Confederation of All India Traders or CAIT, many expressed concern that at the moment, there is nothing to replace the Chinese goods with. While Indian products in many categories are unavailable, those that are available are not advantageous price-wise.

The export council said Chinese components keep the price competitive in export items too.

“We are against a blanket ban on Chinese products. We get key inputs from China, which makes out exports competitive,” said Ajay Sahai, the Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

“Banning Chinese products in an emotional situation will not be correct. A knee-jerk reaction is never right. Our economy will have to count the cost of such a move,” he said.

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The federation has asked the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) that there is a need to take a calibrated approach on this issue, added Saraf.

Fifty to 60 per cent of Indian exports go to China in the form of raw material. China processes it and exports to other nations, Sahai said.

“We need to take a hard look at supply of raw material export from India to China. There is a need to control the raw materials export,” he added.

Over the last week, the government decided to “firmly tell” the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd not to use Chinese equipment in its 4G upgradation in view of security issues. A Chinese firm given a Rs 471-crore railways contract was shown the door “in view of poor progress”.

This week, the government made a mention of the “Country of Origin” mandatory for sellers listing their products in the Government e-Marketplace—a state-run online portal–a move that’s expected to add to the odds against Chinese products. Government sources said a group of e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, have decided to display “Country of origin” on their new products.

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