India’s total imports from China increased by nearly 29 per cent in the past five years. Compared to 2017-18 and 2021-22, the annual imports from China rose from USD 89714.23 million to USD 115,419.96 million, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel informed Lok Sabha.
The minister was responding to a question on the details of commodity-wise trade with China during the last five years.
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, government data showed.
On whether the Government is taking measures to reduce dependence on imports from China, especially since the mid-2020 Galwan clash, the minister stated replied 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.
The sectors in which PLI has been announced 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. All these are the sectors in which substantive imports take place.
“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.
Several trade remedial actions have been taken against imports from China to protect the domestic industry from serious injury against unfair trade, the minister further said in her reply.
There had been several calls to shun Chinese products after a border clash with China in 2020 in which 20 Indian soldiers and several PLA soldiers were killed. Following the event, 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.