NEW DELHI :
Concerned over rise in imports in the 'others' category, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday asked those importers to seek HSN or tariff code within 30 days from the foreign trade office, failing which the government would impose strong restrictions on their inbound shipments.
In trade parlance, every product is categorised under an HSN code (Harmonised System of Nomenclature). It helps in systematic classification of goods across the globe.
Goyal said India is facing "big" problem in the country's imports of a category called "others" and in that category, all sorts of stuff is being imported into the country .
Citing an analysis, he said one out of the four products being imported in India is under this category.
Out of over $500 billion worth of imports in 2018-19, the 'others' category accounted for over $100 billion.
"I will follow the German model," he said adding he would wait for response from importers for next 30 days and thereafter, "I will restrict the import of any product which goes in the others category".
He said that importers will have to approach the ministry to take a special licence for that import without which "you cannot import any product in the others category".
He said this at the CII's National Standards Conclave.
"Today, I would like to give a final announcement that I appeal to everybody who is importing any product or services into the country, please categorise your product into a respective HSN code under which it falls," he said.
Goyal asked the importers to approach their nearest DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) immediately.
"We will start the process to create a separate HSN code if it is not fitting into any existing code or amend the existing code... Very soon, I shall be coming out with serious consequences. The consequences could be a higher duty on products which come under others category," he added.
The minister urged the industry to convey this message to other stakeholders.
He also asked the DGFT to bring a trade notice immediately and "make it an absolute ultimatum either the import duty will be increased exorbitantly or a special duty imposed".
This measure, he said, will help the government assess what is being imported into the country.
The minister added that no imports will be allowed without the HSN code into the country.
"Henceforth, there must be zero tolerance for substandard products and services from industry and consumers," Goyal said.
He further stated that the government will support industry in every way to establish standards for Indian goods and services to meet international requirements so that brand India is recognised in the world.
On free-trade agreements, he said it is an unfortunate reality for India that the FTAs entered into with other nations have not led to the growth of India's trade and businesses.
He elaborated on this point with the number of technical barriers to trade in countries like the US (8,000), Brazil (3,879), China (2,872) and India with only 439.
This points to the manner in which India and the rest of the world are looking at the concept of quality in products and services, Goyal added.
The commerce minister said the time has come to get out of the mind set of subsiding exports and adopt the mantra of quality goods.
He urged BIS, FSSAI and other departments that are mandated to set up and establish standards, to work in mission mode so that goods and services produced and imported in India meet international quality requirements.