DIPP suggests regulation of Chinese imports as part of draft e-commerce policy

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP) has suggested that purchases from Chinese e-commerce sites marked as “gifts” should be regulated as it believes this has a harmful effect on local manufacturing.

The DIPP wants to regulate value Chinese clothing entering India as "gifts" - Instagram: @westfieldcenturycity

As part of its ongoing discussions on the upcoming draft e-commerce policy, the DIPP has suggested that “gifts” coming from China should be regulated as it feels that this could be in conflict with domestic laws and harmful to domestic production. India’s exports to China currently stood at $33 billion (Rs 2 lakh crore) in the previous fiscal year but imports from China to India were far higher at $76.2 billion showing a sizeable trade defecit. In an attempt to cap imports from China, the DIPP wants to make it harder to order cheap goods from Chinese e-tailers.

The DIPP has suggested that consumers be limited to four “gifts” per buyer per year from Chinese e-commerce sites and apps, a senior DIPP official told the Economic Times. Currently, Indian consumers may receive “gifts” for personal use from Chinese retailers without having to pay customs fees if they are valued at under Rs 5,000.

The DIPP believes that a significant number of products enter India marked as “gifts” in order to avoid customs. Many of these are clothes from value retailers such as Club Factory, AliExpress, and Shein which have all been growing swiftly in India. If the DIPP’s suggestions make it into the draft e-commerce policy, this could make it harder for Chinese value retailers in India.

However, the DIPP does not recommend that medicines be included in these regulations as, although medicines make up a large part of Chinese imports, the DIPP feels that regulating them further could harm those in need. The DIPP also noted that customs authorities have the final say in the matter.

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