Larger players like Amazon and Flipkart requested a timeline of three months to execute the proposal
Another set of players requested DPIIT to implement the proposal in a graded manner
BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: The government is keen to make it mandatory to display ‘country of origin’ of products sold on ecommerce platforms starting 1 August, but online retailers have pushed back saying the deadline may not be feasible.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Wednesday held a second meeting on the matter after the initial consultation two weeks ago, in which close to 30 ecommerce players participated.
DPIIT made it clear that it is looking to have ‘country of origin’ available for new listings on ecommerce platforms by 1 August, and for legacy listings by the end of September, two officials of e-commerce companies present in the meeting told Mint under condition of anonymity.
“We heard the views of the ecommerce players. A date for implementation of the ‘country of origin’ proposal has not been finalized yet. We will consult with the Department of Consumer Affairs before taking a final call as packaging is their domain," a DPIIT official said requesting anonymity.
Larger players like Amazon and Flipkart requested a timeline of three months to execute the proposal. “Amazon stated that it has lakhs of sellers, and it will be difficult to convince them to mention ‘country of origin’ for every product, asking for a timeline of 3 months. Flipkart shared the same sentiment, and said that it needs to train the sellers and rejig its technology platform," said a representative of online retailer present in the meeting. Further, two individuals Mint spoke to confirmed that Amazon and Flipkart haven’t reached out to their sellers yet on the request to mention ‘country of origin’ on listings.
After 20 Indian Army personnel were killed last month in the bloodiest clash with Chinese troops in 45 years, India has taken a host of measures to reduce its economic dependency on China including banning 59 mobile apps including TikTok and prohibiting Chinese companies from railways, power and road projects.
As part of its Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan plank to achieve self-reliance, India also seeks to reduce its over $50 billion trade deficit with China. Though mandating ‘country of origin’ is not openly targeted against China, the government seems to be riding on the growing sentiment in the country against Chinese products.
Online retailers present in the meeting also brought up challenges for sellers to assign ‘country of origin’ for unbranded products which is mostly missing, requesting more time to execute the same.
Another set of players including medical marketplace, 1MG, along with Tata Croma and Cliq, requested DPIIT to implement the proposal in a graded manner, where after the end of a set timeline, players can submit a report on the inventory which has ‘country of origin’ mentioned on their platforms.
Earlier, beginning January 2018, the government had mandated ecommerce companies to print not only the maximum retail price on goods but also information like expiry date and customer care details. Ecommerce players which Mint spoke to said that even this was executed in a graded manner, giving ample time to comply.