NEW DELHI/ BANGALORE: Ecommerce players on Wednesday demanded a level-playing field with offline retailers on disclosing the country of origin, amid indications that they are willing to accept the mandate, although it will take a few months to implement it.
During a meeting convened by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), e-commerce players pointed out that small players who sell on their platforms may find it tough to comply, given that products may be assembled or packed in one country but may have inputs from across the world.
“It is possible that the bottle is made somewhere and the cap somewhere else, while the final product in it is made here with inputs from several other countries. How do you classify this product?” an executive with a leading company said.
Many of the mobile phone manufacturers assemble handsets in India and source components from China and other countries, although the packet carries a Made-in-India label, companies said.
The government had called Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, Jio, Reliance Retail, Snapdeal, ShopClues and 1mg, among others, for consultations on mandating country of origin norms, something that a GeM official said was easily doable.
Several company executives suggested that the government should launch a campaign encouraging people to buy locally made goods, which will help in reducing the demand for cheap products from across the border. “A guy selling Diwali lights in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk is not going to say that the product is made in China. You need a level-playing field,” said an etailer. The e-tailers stressed that liability of adhering to the requirement of disclosing the country of origin should also be on sellers, given that these platforms are marketplaces.