Chinese companies' imports may stay stuck
The Economic Times , Jun 29, 2020
Chinese companies in India could continue to face the heat on imports even as the government considers granting easier approvals for non-Chinese firms in the country, top officials said.
“We are monitoring the situation and this could last a few more days,” a senior government official told ET, even as India entered the seventh day of scrutinising imports from China at ports due to a nationwide alert.
According to officials, the current thinking in the government is that even after the nationwide alert is withdrawn, imported shipments meant for Chinese companies in India could continue to face 100% manual checks.
For instance, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer Foxconn, which runs two different units in India, has so far not got clearances for consignments for its factory that makes smartphones for China’s Xiaomi.
“There were discussions around whether to permit authorised economic operators as the industry had made this proposal, but it has now shifted to whether all imports, barring ones for Chinese companies, should be permitted,” another person familiar with the discussions told ET.
Meanwhile, selective approvals are being granted, the latest being to South Korea’s Samsung within hours of meetings at the highest levels in the government on Saturday evening. This follows a handful of US companies that were given customs clearances late last week.
“Right now, clearances are happening on a case-by-case basis,” the official said.
Even as industry groups clamoured for the release of imported shipments crucial for their production facilities, government officials said they were working towards giving them relief.
“We are aware of the ground situation and are finding mechanisms to ease the pain,” a second government official said.
After a series of discussions with the government, trade associations have taken a softer stance towards the move stalling Chinese imports.
“We are in regular communication with the government and have been assured that all measures are being taken in national interest and the industry will not suffer,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the India Cellular and Electronic Association.
The handset lobby group along with FICCI, MAIT and the Cellular Operators Association of India had sought clarity from the government on the ease of imports and said stalling them would hurt manufacturing in the country as it would disrupt supply chains.
ET reported in its June 27 edition that the government was considering partial relaxation for certain categories of imports. Electronics, automobiles and pharmaceuticals have been the worst-hit sectors so far.