BIS hallmarking soon to curb sub-standard imports

250-300 items on list; local players to benefit

BIS hallmarking, imports
Once notified, these products would have to bear certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards and imports of non-certified goods would not be permitted.

The government is planning to come up with quality control orders for 250-300 goods in the coming months as part of a strategy to contain import of sub-standard products that tend to flood the markets and dent domestic manufacturing. Cigarette lighters, pens and household electrical items are some of the products that would be bound by the new norms.

The department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) is understood to be working on these quality standards, which are likely to be brought in over the next few months. Once notified, these products would have to bear certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards and imports of non-certified goods would not be permitted.

The move is in line with the government’s efforts to curb non-essential imports at a time when exports are witnessing contraction owing to the global economic slowdown, raising concerns over the trade and current account deficits. The idea is to use non-tariff measures to curb imports in areas where domestically manufactured alternatives are available. At the same time, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods won’t be restricted.        

“There are a lot of imported products that have flooded the markets and are being sold at extremely cheap rates. There are no uniform standards for these products and they need to be regulated to ensure that cheap and low-quality imports do no stifle the domestic industry,” noted an official source.

However, an import duty hike on these items is not being planned as of now.  According to official data, India’s merchandise exports shrank for the third month in a row, and imports for the second straight month in February, reflecting the impact of global demand slump in India’s external trade.  Export of goods contracted by 8.82% to $33.88 billion and imports by 8.21% to $51.31 billion last month, precipitating a trade deficit of $17.43 billion, the lowest since January, 2022, easing the pressure on the current account. But concerns exist over the current account deficit (CAD), especially since the banking sector crisis in the US is seen to trigger capital outflows.  The country’s CAD for the first half of 2022-23 stood at 3.3% of GDP, but it is expected to moderate in the second half.

Officials pointed out that the quality control order for toys proved to be very successful in lowering imports and promoting home made goods.To control import of cheap and sub-standard toys, the government has issued Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020 on February 25, 2020 through which toys were brought under compulsory BIS certification from January 1, 2021. The norms are equally applicable to domestic manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India. The government has also gradually hiked the import duty on toys and components with a hefty 70% import duty proposed in the Union Budget 2023-24.Following various measures taken to this effect, import of toys declined to `870 crore in 2021-22 from Rs 2,960 crore in 2018-19. Exports of toys by India increased to Rs 1,017 crore during the April-December period this fiscal and was Rs 2,601 crore in 2021-22.

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First published on: 20-03-2023 at 06:00 IST
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