Gadkari urges trade, finance ministers to allow imports that have been paid for

Nitin Gadkari has requested his counterparts in finance and trade ministries to allow imports of goods that have already been paid for. Thee calls by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) minister comes amidst piling up of Chinese goods at Indian shores that has left Indian manufacturers in crying need of raw materials to finish their product.

A senior government official told Mint that small businesses are often dependent on Chinese imports to manufacture products and a larger policy should be worked out to deal with the issue of dependence on Chinese imports. However, small businesses that have already made payments are grappling with stuck consignments. “It’s a challenge for them,” the official cited above said.

“MSMEs need to plan goods — raw materials machinery parts — that need to be imported (from China) three-four months in advance. The orders that they had placed few months ago are arriving now and are stuck at the ports and airports,” the official said.

The official clarified said that India will continue focus on becoming ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ or self reliant and dependence on Chinese imports has to be lowered.

Earlier this week, according to a Press Trust of India news report, export promotion body Federation of Indian Exports Organizations (FIEO) had said that some exporters have raised concerns over consignments being held back by Hong Kong and Chinese customs, in response to a similar action allegedly being taken by Indian authorities at Chennai port. China accounted for almost 14% of India’s total imports in 2018-19, official data showed.

India is reviewing its trade policy with China amid rising tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where 20 Indian troops were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in the Galwan area of Ladakh earlier this month. Maharashtra has already put some deals with Chinese firms on hold, railways has junked a project with a Beijing-based company citing poor progress and the power minister has also said that if possible, Indian companies shall look at ways of getting out of contracts inked with Chinese firms, given that power is a strategic and sensitive sector.