The simmering tension between India and China along the LAC and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers has strengthened the call for boycotting of Chinese products. While the government on its part has been working on the policy and trade issues to address the trade imbalance between the two countries, viz change in FDI rules for countries sharing boundaries with India and hiking the customs duty, the recent volatility along the Ladakh border has further added to the resolve of boycotting the Chinese products. This can certainly not be achieved in the short-term but then bodes well for the long-term vision of an Aatmnirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India.
The Indian real estate industry has taken a positive step forward in this regard and perhaps is among the first few organized sectors to take a call on this. It is reported that over 800 realtors affiliated with Surat chapter of CREDAI, the real estate developers’ association, have unanimously decided to boycott building material from China. The industry largely imports tiles and bathroom fittings apart from furniture, doors and light fittings from China. The boycotted items would include kitchenware, bathroom fittings, furniture and window fittings, etc. The decision taken by the Surat-based builders could impact import to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore per annum. In fact CREDAI-Gujarat has decided to boycott Chinese building materials.
“This can prove to be an opportunity for the indigenous building materials industry. What is required is a change in mindset on the part of the industry. Going forward we need to upgrade/ invest in technology to make the most of the market opportunity. To see to it that the industry flourishes, we look forward to government’s help in terms of providing a business environment wherein business can thrive and grow,” shared the spokesperson of AGL. He added that if the products are manufactured in India, the lead time – which generally is 30 to 40 days – will come down significantly.
On a national level, the 20,000 developer member association has called upon its members to abide by Make in India philosophy in their businesses. Given that around 250 allied industries are associated with the real estate industry, CREDAI has requested them to start local manufacturing of the products that are imported from China. The indigenous units will go a long way in supporting the economy at large.
Sharing his thoughts, Satinder Chawla, Founder & MD, Span Floors Pvt Ltd, is vocal that trade and border skirmishes cannot go hand in hand. He suggests that the need is to promote healthy competition, conducive business environment and reward competence. "It will always benefit the business ecosystem if we develop an indigenous manufacturing base and lower our dependence on imports, more so imports from China,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain originating from China leading to project delays. Amid heightened border tension and the call for boycotting of Chinese products, it becomes all the more important to focus on local production and sourcing. This will eventually lead to reduced procurement time, minimal loss of production hours and increased employment opportunities. The decision of the realtors’ body will help the MSMEs, who are already manufacturing most of the raw materials, and give a fillip to the economy.