Uncertainty over Chinese imports hits Indian industries hard

The uncertainty over customs clearance for goods from China has hit exporters in the State as raw materials have been stuck at sea and airports.

Published: 04th July 2020 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2020 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

Labourers at work at a garments unit in Tirupur of Tamil Nadu | DEEPAK SATHISH

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The uncertainty over customs clearance for goods from China has hit exporters in the State as raw materials have been stuck at sea and airports. Sources told Express that there was a brief unofficial ban on customs clearance on imports from China, which has been lifted now. 

Raja M Shanmugham, president, Tirupur Exporters Association, told Express that the Tirupur cluster, which exports goods worth Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 crore a month on an average, has been hit by the knee-jerk clamp on Chinese goods.”Ninety per cent of the accessories (for knitwear and ready-made goods) are being imported from China which includes buttons, zips and chains and without these goods, production will get impacted,” he said.

This comes after an unofficial restriction from June 26 on customs clearance for imports from China. Later, clearance was granted to goods that arrived till June 30 as imported goods were piling up at the Chennai airport and sea ports. Officials said the Centre has now given clearance for goods that arrived after July 1 also.

However, it is learnt that the quantum of import orders have come down of late. Also, Chinese companies would not stress on payment before delivery earlier but they do now, putting the risk on Indian companies. Sources told Express that customs officials are now insisting on 100 per cent inspection of shipments from China and it is feared that this would lead to disruption. 

Welcoming the decision to give clearance to Chinese goods, Shanmugham said the government should prepare a roadmap for next 10 years rather than taking impulsive decisions. A customs official said, “Initially, the government had agreed to clear Chinese consignments from June 26 to June 30. Now, instructions that air cargo can be cleared from July 1 has been received. But clearing the backlog will take time.” This is also a huge relief for auto, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics and mobile equipment industries.

It is learnt that a total of 17,000 consignments from China were held up across India since June 26. Now, following verbal orders, 4,000 consignments have been cleared since July 2 evening. Chinese consignments under Accredited Clients Programme (ACP), which include Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Cisco and Dell, were allowed to be cleared, Customs sources said.

Meanwhile, Chennai Port sources told Express that there has been no disruption in movement of cargo ships. “The ships are regularly coming to Chennai en route China,” he said.


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