Restrictions on Chinese import clearance at Indian ports likely to be lifted soon

In what could bring some respite to various industries, the government is taking cognizance of industry representations and assuring them of faster clearances of Chinese imports stuck at various ports across India, according to sources.

Government sources told that the clearance of the stuck consignments will be post-proper checks and 100 percent inspections.

“But only post proper checks and 100 percent inspections,” they said.

“The consignments are likely to start moving as early as midnight tonight but the authorities will first clear all essentials category consignments such as Pharmaceutical Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (APIs), Key Starting Raw Materials (KSM’s) and intermediates and a few electronic and mobile equipments,” the sources added.

Even clearances of medical devices such as infrared thermometers, pulse-oxy meters, etc. will follow only post-clearance of essentials such as APIs, key starting raw materials (KSM’s) and intermediates.

“There were no formal or verbal orders and the government is very clear that it doesn’t want essentials to face any delays, so it will be essentials first when it comes to custom clearances,” they explained.

Some of the other sectors; which are hit by current import restrictions are automobiles, fertilizers, chemicals, toys, footwear, apparels and many more; will also get clearances, but later on.

Let’s see how soon the consignments start moving at the ports.

Not just big industries, even MSMEs are hit hard with the import restrictions.

“We (Ramesh Flowers), part of the Gala Group and are based in Tuticorin with 3,000 employees. Our products are candles, scents, florals and home decor – manufacturing and exports. We managed to meet our Q1 production & sales targets and commitments to customers despite COVID by improving productivity and working really hard with our supply chain. However, with 15% of our raw materials coming in from China, the clearance freeze in the last 7 days has just just messed up our production plans,” said P S Suresh, CEO – Ramesh Flowers (P) Ltd.

“If this is not resolved soon, we face the prospect of delivery delays, penalties and huge loss of credibility with our customers – in Europe and USA. The entire exports industry is just recovering after the battering due to COVID.”

“All we are asking is – remove the impediments and enable us produce and sell! All that we want is that just let us work on a 3-6 month medium term strategic China import substitution plan and gradually reduce dependence on China. If we try and do this overnight, we will hurt ourselves more.”

Though, ministry of MSME had recently flagged this issue to finance and commerce ministries, response is still awaited, sources added.