Engineering Exporters Wary of Non-clearance of Cargo from China at Indian Ports

Engineering exporters on Tuesday expressed concern over reported non-clearance of imported cargo from China at Indian ports, saying the move will disrupt supply chain and subsequently affect exports.

Amid heightened border tensions with China, Indian customs officials have started physical inspection of all consignments coming from the neighbouring country, based on intelligence inputs, though there is no formal order, according to government sources.

"Imports from China are not being cleared at various ports by the customs. EEPC members have written to the authorities concerned that this will impact the supply chain which in turn will affect exports," a source at Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India said.

According to the source, some of the engineering exporters have conveyed to EEPC that the move will have an impact on their operations.

"One way out is to differentiate steps which are reasonable and those which will have an adverse impact," the source said.

In May 2020, when the lockdown was in force, engineering exports to China at USD 8 crore (about Rs 600 crore) were higher than that to the US, which traditionally has been the biggest importer of Indian engineering goods.

"So, no such step should be taken which will backfire and have an adverse impact on the economy and GDP," the source said.

Presently, engineering exports are witnessing de-growth of 23 per cent, and what scene will emerge by the end of this fiscal cannot be predicted, the source added.

An official of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said some clearances have taken place in the last two days.

"We are requesting that imports made by manufacturers and those importing for exports under various schemes may be accorded expeditious clearance so that domestic production may commence," the official added.

FIEO had earlier flagged concerns over holding up of consignments at Hong Kong and Chinese ports in response to the action being taken by Indian authorities at Mumbai and Chennai ports.

On June 15, 20 Indian army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in a violent confrontation with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, which increased border tensions between the two countries.