DPIIT asks e-commerce cos to start displaying country of origin for new product listings possibly by Aug 1

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Published: July 9, 2020 4:45 AM

The DPIIT is expected to hold further meetings or send circulars to companies detailing the processes to be followed so that all the issues are addressed.

E-commerce companies have pointed out that their role is restricted to providing tech enablement to sellers so that they can digitally incorporate the country of origin for their products on the online marketplaces.E-commerce companies have pointed out that their role is restricted to providing tech enablement to sellers so that they can digitally incorporate the country of origin for their products on the online marketplaces.

The department for promotion of industry & internal trade (DPIIT) has asked e-commerce companies to start displaying country of origin for all new product listings on their platforms, possibly by August 1.

Officials at the department have also directed firms to add the country of origin to old product listings by September-end or early October, a source aware of the discussions told FE.

The DPIIT on Wednesday held a meeting with nearly 30 e-commerce companies including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jio, Lenskart, Paytm and BigBasket to discuss the matter. Shoppers Stop, Croma and Tata Cliq also attended the meeting, the source said.

E-commerce companies have pointed out that their role is restricted to providing tech enablement to sellers so that they can digitally incorporate the country of origin for their products on the online marketplaces. Sellers, however, will not be able to comply unless they are conveyed about a product’s country of origin by brands and manufacturers.

“E-commerce companies said that discussing the issue with them alone will not work. It includes involvement of brands, manufacturers and sellers. Accordingly, the DPIIT has agreed to take up the matter on old product listings with the consumer affairs ministry, representatives of whom were present at the meeting,” the source said.

The source also said that the ambit of the legal metrology act covers only imported products. Since the government wants the country of origin to be displayed for every product including domestic, a suitable legal framework is required. “A solution is also needed for unbranded products since a seller will not have any information about the same. All these issues need to be resolved,” the source added.

The DPIIT is expected to hold further meetings or send circulars to companies detailing the processes to be followed so that all the issues are addressed.

The DPIIT had held a meeting late last month to discuss the subject.

The discussion around the need for e-commerce players to state the country of origin for products sold on their portals has been gaining ground after a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last month left at least 20 Indian military personnel dead.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a letter to commerce minister Piyush Goyal had said: “All e-commerce companies are selling Chinese goods in large percentages on their portals and in absence of country of origin provision, the customers are unaware about it which certainly influences the choice of the consumers”.

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