While on one hand the outbreak of the pandemic raised questions about nations’ dependency on China and spurred up talks to diversify operations, India’s total imports from China increased by nearly 29 percent in the past five years.
As informed by the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel at Lok Sabha while responding to a question on details of commodity-wise trade with China during the last five years, the annual imports from China in 2021-22 rose from USD 89714.23 million to USD 115,419.96 million when compared to 2017-18.
As shown by the government data, a large portion of the total imports are animal or vegetable fats; ores, slag, and ash; mineral fuels, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, fertilizers, tanning or dyeing extracts, miscellaneous chemical products, plastic, and articles, paper and paperboard, cotton, textile fabrics, footwear, glass and glassware, iron and steel, copper; nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, and mechanical appliances; electrical machinery, furniture, among others,
Speaking about the measure taken by the government to reduce dependence on imports from China, especially since the mid-2020 Galwan clash, the minister stated that the Government has launched Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes in 14 sectors which will make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, attract investment in the areas of core competency/cutting-edge technology, enhance exports, integrate India in global supply chain and reduce dependency on imports.
PLI has been announced in all the sectors in which substantive imports take place. The sectors are, Key Starting Materials/Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), Large Scale Electronics manufacturing, Manufacturing of Medical Devices, Electronic/Technology Products, Pharmaceutical drugs, Telecom & Networking Products, Food Products, White Goods (ACs & LED), High-Efficiency Solar PV Module, Automobiles and Auto components, Advance Chemistry Cell battery, Textile products, Specialty Steel and Drones and Drone Components.
“Technical Regulations (TRs) have been framed for several products for the maintenance of standards/quality of imported products. This will check the import of substandard products,” the minister said.
Further in her reply, the minister said, that several trade remedial actions have been taken against imports from China to protect the domestic industry from serious injury against unfair trade.
After the border clash with China in 2020, there had been several calls to shun Chinese products. India imposed a ban on 59 apps including Tik Tok, UC Browser, and other apps. Almost all the apps banned have some preferential Chinese interest and the majority have parent Chinese companies.
Notably, the government procurement portal GeM has made it mandatory for sellers to mention “country of origin” on products they wish to sell through the platform, a move aimed at promoting Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India). Also, all e-commerce companies operating in India have to mention the country of origin of products being offered for sale.