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India’s tightened consumer goods standards could hurt China imports

India’s tightened consumer goods standards could hurt China imports

India’s tightened consumer goods standards could hurt China imports

India is tightening quality controls for consumer and capital goods, officials say, a move that follows calls to curb cheap imports from China amid diplomatic tensions between the world’s two most populous nations over their shared border.

The new rules target toys, electronic goods, machinery, food processing, construction and chemicals, sectors dominated by China, and come amid greater scrutiny of mainland firms looking to enter India’s multi-billion dollar power transmission and telecoms business.

For India’s toy retailers, who import everything from toy cars to musical phones and even robots from China, the new requirements have meant supply disruptions just ahead of the Diwali festive season.

The government’s Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has approximately 23,000 standards across industries, many of which are never fully enforced, officials say. Now, government departments have been asked to carry out laboratory tests and spot inspection to ensure goods conform to the regulations.

“We have started this work on a war footing, to have quality control orders for almost every product that we are consuming in the country,” said Ramesh Abhishek who heads the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

The new rules apply to both foreign manufacturers and domestic firms.

However, two people familiar with trade policy who did not want to be named said the sectors targeted are ones in which China controls more than two-thirds of the market, such as toy and stainless steel good industries, and where there have been “chronic” complaints of substandard products.

Separately, Indian Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said her department will soon release new guidelines, raising quality norms for welded stainless steel pipes that are used in oil and gas as well as construction sector.

“There is evidence of China exporting semi-finished and finished goods using stainless steel that do not meet the BIS standards,” Sharma said.


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