In a move to curb imports of products into India that are either substandard or are not clearly categorised, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said that no products will be allowed into the country without proper classification under the Harmonised System of Nomenclature (HSN).
The HSN is a system that classifies thousands of goods into universally acceptable categories known as HSN codes. However, one out of four products imported into India currently are brought in through an ambiguous ‘others’ category, said the minister during the sixth National Standards Conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
“We have a big problem in our imports of a category called ‘others’… In that ‘others’ category, all sorts of stuff is being put in and imported into the country,” said the minister, adding that the government’s efforts to resolve this through a trade notice two months ago did not yield the desired results. The notice, dated October 22, had said that the government had observed that importers had not been carrying out due diligence in mentioning the correct HS codes at the eight-digit level while filing the bill of entry with customs authorities.
Even though, specific HS codes may be available for the imported items, importers tend to “casually” adopt the ‘others’ category, essentially seen as a residual category of the relevant products. The notice advised importers to therefore indicate the specific HS codes “where they exist”. Goyal gave a “final announcement” in this regard, adding importers needed to rectify this issue within 30 days, failing which their imports in the ‘others’ category would be restricted. He told the foreign trade office to “immediately” bring out a trade notice on this and make this an “absolute ultimatum” by way of either “exorbitantly” increasing the import duty or imposing a special duty on such products. “… I will restrict the import of any product which goes in the ‘others’ category. You will have to approach us, take a special licence, without which you cannot import any product in the others category,” he said.
The minister further said that there must be “zero tolerance” for substandard products and services from industry and consumers.
“We will have to harmonise our standards with international standards, connect it with the import and export lines so that the customs department can do their job better …” he said.
Exports contract for 5th straight month in Dec
New Delhi: Exports dropped 1.8 per cent to $27.36 billion in December 2019, the fifth straight month of contraction, due to a significant fall in shipments of plastic, gems and jewellery, leather products and chemicals. Imports too fell for the seventh consecutive month, down 8.83 per cent at $38.61 billion in December 2019 — helping narrow the trade deficit to $11.25 billion, showed government data released on Wednesday. The trade deficit was $14.49 billion in December 2018. Of the 30 key sectors, as many as 18 segments showed negative growth in exports during the month. Gold imports shrunk by about 4 per cent to $2.46 billion during the month under review. —ENS & PTI