RED DRAGON AGGRESSION
l From low-value to high-value products, Chinese goods become the first choice of customers
GUWAHATI, July 13: From low-value, low-cost products like toys and crackers to high-value items like electronics, Chinese commodities have flooded the North East markets notwithstanding boycott calls of such products to safeguard interest of local manufacturers.
The situation has reached such a pass that the city markets were flooded with apples smuggled from China last month even as the fruit was found harmful as repeated tests had found pests in the incoming shipments in May 2017. In 2017 India had suspended import of apples and pears from China.
Besides fruits, vegetables and spices like garlic the list of Chinese items flooding NE markets seems to be endless. Chinese foodstuffs, beverages, suitcases, bags, briefcases, fashion wear and casual wear, occasional wear, sports wear, kids wear, pens and writing Instruments, file storage products, office items, paper products, desk decorations, general office supplies, domestic furniture, hotel and restaurant Furniture, paper products and packing products, paintings, pictures and frames,advertising gifts and presents, custom printed products, jewellery, bone carvings & jade Carvings, home decorations, festival and party decorations, religious decorations, baby toys, electric toys, remote-controlled toys, clockwork toys, games (action, educational games and toys, plush and cloth toys, dolls, riding vehicles, musical toys have made customers in Assam and other parts of NE spoiled for choice.
“A few years back, traders in Guwahati used to get the Chinese goods from agents who were based in places like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Now, the volume of business has multiplied so much that many traders from the city have started going to China directly or to meet agents based in other South Asian countries, like Thailand, to procure the goods. According to traders who often visit China they get almost everything there. Even some construction materials are being brought from China,” a market watcher told The Sentinel.
A trader at Fancy Bazar said the Chinese products come at a price which is around 60 per cent less than the branded ones. “Even though these products including smart mobile phones and laptop do not come with any warranty or guarantee, unlike the branded ones, consumers are going crazy after these products. Since customers desperately need Chinese products we have to give them. We have no choice,” he said.
The trader said going by a conservative estimate in the electronic industry the share of Chinese products in the market has reached nearly 50 per cent. In the lighting industry the share of Chinese LED lights in the market is roughly 20 per cent even as most of the decorating lights sold during Diwali, are Chinese-made.
Chinese goods enter India through Myanmar and other border points in the North East. While most of the smugglers take the land route, some even book them in flight cargos. Normally the smugglers bring Chinese goods in small quantities to avoid detection by custom department officials. Most of the times, the goods are stuffed among other items India can legally import from Myanmar. The agents based in Siliguri, Delhi, Mumbai etc act as distributors and some goods are also transported via train from Dimapur to rest of India.
Even though the Centre has been raising its concern on cheap Chinese goods flooding the Indian market and hurting its traders and manufacturing sectors, nothing has been changed on the ground while China’s aggression to flood the India’s markets with its products has only been doubled. Unless and until the people of the country start avoiding and boycotting Chinese products, there seems to be no solution to prevent the neighboring China to rule our markets.