Although the option to increase import duties is always on the table, in the past the move hasn’t reduced shipments from other countries due to the free trade agreements that India has signed and there are fears that Chinese companies use this window to route their products into the Indian market.
As a result, non-tariff options are seen to be a more potent weapon in the battle against Chinese products. Work has already begun on setting standards for at least 370 products, identified by the commerce department, with technical regulations formulated for 150 products, whose imports added up to around $47 billion. In addition, more than 50 Quality Control Orders and other rules have been notified for electronic goods, toys, air conditioners, bicycle parts, pressure cooker, and other items.
Other options, such as using security clause to restrict some imports, are also available. A detailed roadmap to address the issue is expected in the next few days with consultations likely at the highest level in the government, sources told TOI.
These moves come along with schemes to boost domestic manufacturing of electronics and basic drugs with similar packages for textiles, footwear, air conditioners and other sectors also being discussed to attract investment into the country.
Sources said that on government contracts, the view was very clear that Chinese companies would have restricted access.