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India-China trade drops 7% in FY 20 as Indians shun Chinese goods

India-China trade drops 7% in FY 20 as Indians shun Chinese goods

India’s trade with mainland China and Hong Kong dropped by 7 per cent in 2019-20 to $109.76 billion, the sharpest fall in the last seven years. From December 2019 to mid-March 2020, China’s economic activities had been badly impacted due to the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan.

However, Indian consumers have been gradually turning away Chinese goods even before the spread of the virus, which brought China in the spotlight for its handling of the pandemic.

Sample this. In 2018-19, trade between the two Asian giants grew by only 3.2 per cent after a huge increase of 22 per cent in the previous financial year.

“People are gradually rejecting Chinese products and this trend had started even before the spread of the coronavirus. However, after the spread of the pandemic the level of awareness now is like never before,” Ashwani Mahajan, National co-convener, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, told IN.

Prior to this, it was in 2012-13 that bilateral trade between India and China dropped by 10.5 per cent.

Meanwhile the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has recently launched a national campaign for traders as well as consumers urging them not to sell or buy Chinese goods.

In a statement CAIT said that it has been continuously campaigning for boycott of Chinese products for the last four years on the back of government’s strong push for ‘Make in India’ programme.

Import substitution of home appliances and electronic goods such as television sets, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and mobile phones led to a $1.5-billion drop in inward shipment from China in 2019-20. Besides, other items including mineral fuels, mineral oils, and chemicals too saw a drop in demand from India.

Indian consumers, who had become dependent on cheap Chinese goods for years, had been gradually shunning them due to the inferior quality. “As disposable incomes even for the common man increased, the demand for cheap Chinese goods dropped. The discerning Indian consumer would look for quality products,” an analyst said..