With China shut, govt exploring alternative sources of supply

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2020

MoS Som Prakash took note of problems raised by various sectors; strategy to be prepared to deal with problem

The Commerce Ministry organised a meeting with export promotion councils and industry representatives on Thursday to discuss ways to mitigate the problems faced by Indian exporters and importers hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Representatives from sectors including pharmaceuticals, automobiles, meat, gems and jewellery, electronics and IT and engineering goods participated in the meeting and gave details of their specific issues,” a government official told BusinessLine.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Som Prakash, chaired the meeting. “The Commerce Ministry is trying to identify alternative supply destinations for crucial inputs that the Indian industry needs and is also actively engaged with its embassies abroad,” the official said.

Sectors such as pharmaceuticals, automobiles and electronics, which import a large part of their inputs from China have been severely affected due to a fall in imports. China was India’s top-most import source in 2018-19 with total imports at $70.39 billion. The country was also India’s third largest export destination with outbound shipments valued at $16.5 billion.

Stocks of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Key Starting Materials as well as API-based medicines, which are heavily imported from China, have started getting depleted which has led the government to set up a committee for its effective management, but more steps need to be taken.

Exporters of items like meat and rice have also been adversely affected by the spread of coronavirus as their supplies have been hit due to fear of contamination. “The Minister and his team took note of all the pain points mentioned by exporters and importers. A strategy to deal with the concerns will be subsequently framed,” the official said.

Published on March 12, 2020

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