Boycott of Chinese products, tech will hurt India’s economy: observers

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/19 18:49:50

File photo:VCG

A boycott campaign in India targeting Chinese products and technology in the wake of a border clash between the two Asian giants is an angry outburst that won't do the coronavirus-hit Indian economy any favors, regional affairs watchers said on Friday. 

The China-India partnership has brought many opportunities to the South Asian nation, with the availability of Chinese phones, among other tech products, substantially ramping up the local push for digitalization, Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Friday.

The sheer irrationality of boycotting Made in China products, hardly a new thing, would only end up dealing a blow to the local people who have benefited from Chinese investment. 

The investment from China is estimated at $26 billion, according to a Brookings Institution report in March. Chinese firms have invested $4.4 billion in green field investments and in acquiring or expanding existing facilities. This is in addition to their investments in stakes in Indian businesses, mostly in pharmaceuticals and technology, the report said. Chinese firms have pledged another $15 billion in plans or bids for major infrastructure projects that have yet to be approved in India.

When asked to comment on the Indian move to boycott Chinese items, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that responsibility for the border clash rests entirely on India. China attaches great importance to China-India relations and hopes the two can work to safeguard the long-term development of ties.

The local traders' body, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said Wednesday it will further mobilize traders in India to boycott Chinese items and support indigenous products, Indian media reported.

The CAIT on Tuesday released a list of 500 categories of items imported from China that the confederation said could be swapped for Indian-made goods, such as apparel, consumer electronics and toys.

Geopolitical tensions between China and India that have surfaced occasionally in recent years could put a damper on Chinese businesses considering investing in India, although the clashes may not have a long-lasting effect, according to Xie Chi, a senior sales manager of the Sub-Council of Chemical Industry under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, who has been to India and maintains close contacts with Chinese businesses planning to invest in India. 

A Chinese telecoms industry insider said if India bans Chinese telecoms equipment makers from its market, it may lead to an increase of procurement costs by around 20 percent.

The comments were made after Reuters reported that India told two state-run telecoms firms to use local rather than Chinese telecoms equipment to upgrade their mobile networks to 4G, citing a senior government source on Thursday.

New Delhi's move comes amid recent border disputes between China and India, and is widely believed to target Chinese telecoms equipment makers Huawei and ZTE.

"Our equipment is cheap and easy to produce, which is hard for our rivals to achieve," independent market watcher Ma Jihua told the Global Times on Friday.

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