City importers holding back orders to China after Galwan clash

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KOLKATA: City-based importers have started holding back their orders to China after the death of Indian Army personnel in a fierce clash with the People’s Liberation Army in Galwan valley of eastern Ladakh.

A large range of consumer products from toys to lights and industrial items are imported from China, president of Calcutta Customs House Agents Association, Sujit Chakrabarty said.

“The combined trade with China is already down by 30 to 40 per cent due to the lockdown related disruptions. With this (Galwan valley clash) development, importers are holding back their new order placement.”

“Exporters are also expressing concerns,” he told .

The Chairman of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), Ravi Sehgal, said there could be a temporary hit in engineering goods export to China as exporters and importers normally do not mix politics with business.

“Exporters might be a bit cautious but unless there are payment concerns, exports will stay normal in the midterm,” he said.

China is one of the two countries out of the top 25 destinations of India’s engineering exports which managed a positive year-on-year growth in April 2020, while the rest conceded massive contraction up to 91 per cent in some cases due to the hugely disruptive impact of Covid-19.

Trade with China account for about 20 per cent of the total cargo handled by Kolkata Port Trust.

“There is a backlog of about 4,000 containers due to lack of inbound vessels with import cargo. However, this can’t be attributed to the standoff at Ladakh as it is mainly for the lockdown related disruptions,” a top Kolkata Port Trust official said.

During the lockdown imports were more and exports were down. Now exports have jumped and imports have stayed low,” he said.

According to a CII report China supplies 43 per cent of Indias imports of top 20 goods, including mobile handsets (USD 7.2 billion import from China), computers (USD 3 billion), integrated circuits, other inputs (USD 7.5 billion), fertilizers (USD 1.5 billion), Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (USD 1.4 billion) and antibiotics (USD1.1 billion).

Twenty Army personnel, including a colonel were killed in the clash with the Chinese troops valley on Monday night.

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