Local traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday said it will further mobilize traders in India to boycott Chinese goods and lend support to indigenous products, after the India and China engaged in skirmishes at the Galwan Valley earlier this week.
Escalating tensions between the two neighboring countries has again propelled the anti-China narrative wherein traders—who called for a ban on Chines goods in support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to go 'vocal for local'—are again calling for a reduction in consumer goods imported from China.
Earlier, on Tuesday, CAIT released a list of 500 categories of products imported from China that it said could be swapped with goods made in India. These include items such as apparel, consumer electronics, kitchenware, watches, decorative lighting, toys, etc.
In a statement released by CAIT on Wednesday, the association said in cognizance of the border dispute between the two countries—that are also strong trade partners—the association’s members “have taken a firm pledge to support CAIT’s national movement to boycott Chinese products and promote Indian goods."
“…Indian traders have taken a very firm pledge and resolve to teach China a strong lesson by reducing Chinese imports and will leave no stone unturned to achieve the target of One Lakh crore set by CAIT. Even though the business of traders will suffer, as quite a few are importing from China, but still for them nothing comes before national interest and they have decided to stand in solidarity with the movement," CAIT said in its statement.
CAIT also urged Indian celebrities stop endorsing Chinese brands. To be sure, several Indian celebrities promote popular mobile phone brands such as Vivi, Oppo, among others.
“In the wake of the recent developments against China, it will be in the interest of the nation if top Indian celebrities immediately stop endorsing Chinese mobile brands," CAIT’s secretary general, Praveen Khandelwal said in the statement.
To be sure, several large Chinese companies spanning handsets, electronic devices and internet firms are deeply invested in India’s consumer market where a fast growing middle-class and an aspirational young consumer base has helped propel the growth for companies such as Xiaomi Corp, BBK Electronics that owns brands such as Oppo, Vivo, among others; apart from electronics goods company TCL.
In 2019, India’s exports to China rose 3.8% to $17.1 billion; while imports contracted 7.5% to $68.3 billion in the same year.
Mint had earlier reported that electronics, capital goods, pharmaceuticals and metal components are the top imports from China. Mint cited government data to highlight India’s imports from China. However, in certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals, India is overwhelmingly dependent on China.
On Wednesday evening, a video of people shunning a “Chinese" television set in the city of Surat, surfaced. The video was shared by News18 India’s bureau chief in the state of Gujarat.
Earlier this month, CAIT, which represents 7 crore traders and 40,000 trade associations announced a national campaign to boycott Chinese products in solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to back ‘vocal for local’. CAIT wants to bring down the imports from China to $13 billion by December 2021. It said it plans to do so be substituting a list of goods imported from China with local goods.