Cheap Imports Current Affairs - 2020

QCI Survey: More than 67% of toys fail to meet the standards

The Quality Council of India (QCI) recently released its survey on imported toys. According to the report, 66.9% of the toys failed the test.

Highlights

The QCI conducted the testing on toys that were available in the Delhi markets and in the National Capital Region. Around 121 varieties were procured and submitted to NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and calibration Laboratories).

Of the tested varieties, 30% of the plastic toys failed to meet the tests of permissible level of phthalate, heavy metals, etc. Around 80% of the toys failed to meet the physical and mechanical safety properties.

In the soft toys, 45% failed on phthalate test and 75% failed on tests conducted on mechanical properties.

Of the toys sold in Delhi markets, 85% are from China, followed by Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Germany.

Quality Council of India

The QCI was set up in 1997 to establish and promote quality standards across social and economic sectors. The services offered by QCI include quality assessment, accreditation services, quality promotion, etc. It is associated with CII (Confederation of India Industry), ASSOCHAM (where PM Modi addressed its 100th year celebrations).

The Council is governed by 38-members. The chairperson of the council is appointed by the PM of India. It functions through 5 main accreditation boards namely NABCB (National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies), NABET (National Accreditation Board for Education and Training), NBQP (National Board for Quality Promotion), NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers) and NABL.

Government raises import duty on 328 textile products to curb imports

Government has doubled import duties on 328 textile products to 20% from existing rate of 10% under Section 159 of the Customs Act, 1962.  Earlier in July 2018, Government had doubled import duty on over 50 textile products — including jackets, suits and carpets to 20%.

Significance

The increase in duties will give edge to domestic manufacturers as imported products are currently cheaper. It will curb soaring imports from China and focus more on local value addition in labour-intensive sector. This move will also help to promote ‘Make in India’ as imports of these goods had surged drastically in last one year especially post GST. It will increase in manufacturing activity in various segments of the entire value chain of textile sector, which will help to create jobs in sector, which employs about 10.5 crore people.

Background

The move comes amid mounting concerns that trade war between world’s biggest economies United States and China will further aggravate dumping of cheaper products from China to Indian markets. As such, India’s textile imports jumped by 16% to record $7 billion in last fiscal, with China accounting for over 40% of purchases. Moreover, 28% hike in cotton prices by Government recently to ensure at least 50% premium to farmers over costs is expected to raise basic raw material costs for domestic manufacturers and could hurt our export competitiveness across value chains in the textile and garment sector.