To check the import of low-quality Viscose Staple Fibre (VSF) — a man-made, bio-degradable fibre used for manufacturing various textiles — the Textiles Ministry is planning to make the BIS standards for the item mandatory by issuing a Quality Control Order (QCO) and imposing it on imports as well.

The Department of Commerce, following a communication from the Textile Ministry, has notified the draft VSF QCO 2022 at the World Trade Organisation on Thursday, seeking comments of interested member countries within sixty days.

The government’s attempt to check the quality of imported VSF by drafting a QCO comes just a year after anti-dumping duties on import of VSF from China and Indonesia were revoked to make the domestic user industry, including manufacturers of garments and yarn, more competitive. Domestic production of VSF is mostly done by Grasim Industries, which is the dominant producer of the fibre in the country.

Urgent need for standards

A draft QCO for VSF has been formulated by the Ministry after consultations with various industry bodies, including the Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council and the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, the Textile Ministry’s communication to the Department of Commerce stated.

“There is an urgent need to make them applicable on imports which will restrict imports of sub-standard VSF products by mandating the BIS Certification with BIS VSE Standard,” the communication added.

The draft QCO was shared with BIS and comments were sought from them. “As per the comments received, draft QCO have been duly revised. Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice have also vetted the draft QCO and found it formally in order,” it said.

Per the QCO, VSF needs to conform to the corresponding Indian standard and should bear the standard mark under a licence from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The BIS shall be the certifying and enforcing authority for VSF and, in addition, an officer not below the rank of Assistant Director, Textiles Committee, Ministry of Textiles, shall also be the enforcing authority.

Not for exports

The QCO shall not apply to VSF meant for export, which conform to the specification required by the foreign buyer, the draft points out .The order will come into force 180 days after its adoption.

As on date, more than 450 products are under the ambit of mandatory certification, per data shared by the government. Consumer products under mandatory certification include toys, cement, electric iron, electric immersion water heater, domestic food mixer, switches, helmets, domestic pressure cookers and automotive tyres.

Several consumer electronic products are also under the ambit of compulsory certification such as mobile phones, laptops, TV, power adapters, power banks and digital camera.