Burn or not to burn: Indian traders split on Chinese products

March 20,2019

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NEW DELHI: As Indian traders burnt imported Chinese products at more than 1,500 place all over the country, many others have defied a national call by a traders’ organisation to boycott the products by saying their business would be hit badly if they stopped selling Chinese products.

Traders burnt Chinese goods on Tuesday to protest Beijing’s decision to block an international bid in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”, Confederation of All India Traders said. CAIT also urged the government to put restrictions on trade with China.

Press Trust of India reported CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal as saying that Indian traders “put to fire Chinese goods at more than 1,500 places all over the country, including Delhi.” He said the body is launching a national campaign urging traders to boycott purchasing or selling Chinese goods.

The bilateral trade between India and China rose by 18.63 per cent year-on-year to $ 84.44 billion in 2017. The trade deficit with China continued to remain high at $ 51.75 billion during the year.

But Indian media reports say that despite the CAIT call local markets in New Delhi registered minimal participation as shopkeepers and hawkers continued to sell Chinese pichkaris (water guns) among other items ahead of Holi. Despite a demonstration by the union, locals refused to put on hold the sale of Chinese products.

“We are selling Chinese goods. They were stocked up earlier. If India is importing items from China, we have no choice but to sell them. We will continue to sell them as per demand,” says Vikas, a worker at a local shop.

Several other shopkeepers also disagreed with the idea of banning Chinese goods in India. On the condition of anonymity, one of them said Chinese toys and several items formed a major constituent of the market, especially during festivals. “Their removal will surely hamper our business,” he said.

“Ninety per cent of the market here runs on Chinese goods. How will it function if we call for a boycott?” says a local shopkeeper in New Delhi’s Sadar Bazar, popular for items manufactured in the neighbouring country.


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