Import Consignments Held at Ports Will Hit India Not China: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari urges the finance minister to remove blockade for release of goods at ports. As import consignments held at ports will hit India, not China.

Gadkari Asks the Finance Minster to Release Goods From ports

Due to the rising concerns over delay in customs for imports from China, transport and MSME minister wrote to Finance Minster after the farmers association highlighted the delay in customs clearance. Further, he said that import duty must increase to decrease imports. Holding the goods at ports will incur huge losses to the Indian industrialists as they have already paid for those. Further, he mentioned the decrease in the supply of spraying equipment due to the pandemic and urged the government to release the goods at the earliest. Besides, he declared himself as a proponent of Atmanirbhar Bharat and said that the MSME has all that it takes to support this cause. 

Indian Customs Tightens Scrutiny Norms

The officials have ordered customs officials clearing the cargo to check open and de-stuff for 100% examination. Further, custom officials said that they had received a hint of import of narcotics from China in containers. The import embargo has hit the auto, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and mobile equipment industries the worst. The shipments are stranded at the ports since June 26th. Subsequently, the move has come after the escalated tensions between India and China at the Ladakh border. The delay has started taking a hit on imports from other countries as well.

On the other hand, electronics body ICMEA has written to the government about the shortage of essential commodities due to disruptions in the supply chain owing to the prolonged holding of goods at ports. Further, it said that opening containers might make the products unfit for sale. Industrial bodies expressed their concerns over a lack of communication from the government regarding the timeline of releasing the customs. Also, they mentioned the substantial losses already incurred during the lockdown period. Moreover, Shipping Company DHL has suspended shipments from China and Hong Kong amid uncertainty surrounding clearance of consignments at sea and airports in India.

China Hits Back With Holding Indian Manufactured Goods at Their Port

China has stopped Indian manufactured products at its ports as a retaliatory action. Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has reported to the Ministry of Commerce about exporters facing problems due to stranded shipments at Chinese ports. The body has asked the ministry to check with Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) regarding the delay in import. In response to this, CBIC Chairman Ajit Kumar said that the body supports the Indian traders. Further, he said that though some consignments are being held at ports, it is too early to term it as retaliation.

Important COVID-19 Supplies Stuck at Ports

India’s apex pharma export body has asked the government to speed up the clearance of products. It complained of several key starting materials (KSM), intermediaries, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) stuck at ports which face delay in import. Moreover, COVID related medical devices and diagnostics such as infrared thermometers and pulse oximeters are still at the ports. An official of the Department of Pharmaceuticals said that ports have started inspecting all consignments instead of random checks. It results in a delay of even the government’s shipments. Further, it complained of getting distress calls from their member companies due to acute disruption in manufacturing pharmaceuticals. It also highlighted that the country would take time to become self-sufficient. Until then, the government must extend its support in every possible way.  

Trade Organizations Approach Government

Industry association India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) approached the government about checking China origin consignments at ports without written orders. Also, it has asked the Revenue Secretary to make a distinction between products subject to 100% inspection. Further, it pointed out that the packaging and repackaging of products will lead to pilferage. Consequently, it will lead to losses, a shortage in the market and hence will spook the foreign investors. It suggested X-rays or additional paperwork as a solution for high-end products and sensitive components.

The body emphasized on making viable alternatives with the least bureaucratic challenges to ensure the smoothest supply chains. It further warned the company that such processes could shake the confidence of companies shipping production equipment to the country seeking production linked incentives. It also highlighted the valuable contribution made by these custom duties to the Central and state exchequers.

In all, disruptions in the supply chain at a time of global pandemic can result in dire consequences. Further adding too many troubles to export-import industry.

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