India has been imposing restrictions on Chinese goods and components through import duty levies, as a massive influx of products from that country threatened to squeeze domestic manufacturers at a time.
Chinese toys were among the major products that flooded the Indian markets long ago.
However, under the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat policy, where the emphasis is on “Vocal for Local”, imports of toys, games and sports equipment from China are showing a gradual declining trend.
According to the commerce ministry, imports of these Chinese products have declined from $451.71 million in 2018-19 to $206.11 million in 2021 (between April 2021 and January 2022).
How did imports of Chinese toys decline?
In order to control the import of cheap and substandard toys, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had made it mandatory to conduct sample testing of each consignment through a notification dated December 2, 2019.
As per this notification, sale is not to be allowed until the quality test is successful. In the event of failure, the consignment is either sent back or destroyed at the cost of the importer.
tightening of norms
In addition to this notification, the government also issued a Toys (Quality Control) Order dated February 25, 2020, through which toys have been brought under mandatory Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification with effect from January 1, 2021.
This Quality Control Order (QCO) applies equally to domestic manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India.
As per this QCO, it is mandatory for toys to conform to Indian Standards for Safety of Toys and to have ISI Mark under license from BIS.
Also, as per BIS rules, no person is allowed to manufacture, import, Distribute, sell, rent, lease, store, or display for sale any Toy without the ISI mark. Under the BIS Product Certification Scheme, only those foreign manufacturers whose manufacturing and testing capability have been assessed as satisfactory by BIS will be able to obtain a BIS license and export toys to India.
BIS also conducts market monitoring activities and monitoring of the factory to check whether the licensee is working satisfactorily as per the terms of the license. During these surveillance inspections samples are also taken for testing.