There is news all around the globe right now about the dangerous and dirty tactics that are adopted by the Chinese Communist Party to exert its influence over the world and why is it important to boycott China, not only for India but for every democratic country in the world? But is it possible to boycott China realistically and practically by us in India? There have been serious speculations about China resorting to dirty means-dumping, theft, currency manipulation.
So why are the rest of the countries not taking any action against China?
It is actually quite easy to boycott Chinese products if the government imposes import taxes on the goods coming from China. But doing this would result in a big blow to the Indian economy because India is still not prepared to do this. Why is India not prepared and what it can do to be prepared. The reason is the trade between India and China is extremely imbalanced. If we talk about the trade between India and China last year, goods then worth 70 billion dollars were imported in India from China, and the goods exported to China from India were worth merely 16.7 billion dollars. This lopsided imbalance is called a trade deficit. There is a deficit of nearly 53 billion dollars and this trade deficit has been increasing over the past few years.
That means that this is a huge advantage for China that China has made India dependent on itself. The thing which India imports the most from China and for which India is the most dependent on China is electronic stuff- for example, TVs, smartphones. Speaking of smartphones, 76% of our market is replete with Chinese companies. Next in line are pharmaceutical products. 65-70% of our medicines come from China. When we talk of “Boycotting”, this does not mean that we will completely stop using all products from China. We will have to look for alternatives to replace them. Let’s focus on what can be done on an individual level as a consumer to replace the goods made by Chinese companies by the other companies. For example, if we talk about Chinese software, you can instantly delete the Chinese apps from your phones. If you find an app user, you will find a non-Chinese alternative of it pretty easily. There are numerous apps on the app store which are of better quality. But efficient and proper government initiatives should be taken to motivate the people for this.
There are several other available options if we talk about smartphones – you can buy one from Samsung, which is a South Korean company. HTC is from Taiwan, Nokia is a company from Finland, Asus is another company from Taiwan and Apple is a company from the USA. Even Micromax and LAVA are Indian companies. Now many of you might point out that several of these products use parts that are made in China. What should be done in such a scenario?
Understanding the actual meaning of boycotting Chinese products can be basically divided into four levels. One being the products made by Chinese companies, flowed by-products which are present in other countries but manufactured in China, and the third being products that use Chinese spare parts and the last being companies that have Chinese investments in them. There is one thing we need to be very clear about and that is Made in China products that are manufactured by some other company. For example, the iPhone is made by Apple, which is a US company but it is made in China.
One of the best things that can be done on a government level to boycott Chinese products would be Free Trade Agreements. Free Trade Agreements are signed to boost trade between two countries where both cut down their import taxes and remove other barriers to facilitate trade between both the countries. If India wishes to reduce the imports from China and wishes to lower its dependency on China, then it will have to ink free trade agreements with the rest of the countries. India’s free trade agreement with Australia has been stuck in negotiations for the past 8 years and with the European Union for the past 10 years.