“Ninety per cent of the market here runs on Chinese goods. How will it function if we call for a boycott?,” says a local shopkeeper in New Delhi’s Sadar Bazar, popular for items manufactured in the neighbouring country.
Even as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) gave a call to burn and boycott Chinese goods across 1,500 places on Tuesday, local markets registered minimal participation as shopkeepers and hawkers continued to sell Chinese pichkaris (water guns) among other items ahead of Holi. Despite a demonstration by the union, locals refused to put on hold the sale of Chinese products, citing the Centre must stop importing items from Beijing.
“We are selling Chinese goods. They were stocked up earlier. If India is importing items from China, we have no choice but to sell them. We will continue to sell them as per demand,” says Vikas, a worker at a local shop.
Several other shopkeepers also disagreed with the idea of banning Chinese goods in India. On the condition of anonymity, one of them said Chinese toys and several items formed a major constituent of the market, especially during festivals. “Their removal will surely hamper our business,” he said.
“Everyone is selling Chinese goods. How can we simply stop their sale? Everyone prefers to buy them in view of their low cost,” another local said.
A group of representatives from the association set ablaze several Chinese goods to protest against Beijing‘s technical hold on the proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist for the fourth time. Several items were burnt at the market’s main chowk as a sign of disapproval over the neighbouring country’s actions.
“The way China is supporting Pakistan and have blocked attempts to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, we cannot continue using Chinese goods. We will not tolerate anyone playing with the country’s security,” says Vipin Ahuja, President of CAIT, Delhi.
“The traders will boycott the goods of countries standing against the national security of India,” CAIT General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal said in a press release. The association also demanded the government impose restrictions on trade with China.
“In order to minimise imports from China, the government should immediately impose a custom duty ranging from 300 per cent to 500 per cent. On the other hand, a strict investigation should be conducted at India ports on each import from China as goods from the neighbouring country are highly under-valued,” CAIT said in a statement.
Last year, items worth $53878.06 million were imported to India from the neighbouring country.