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Quality control orders

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: LM

Context: India has been issuing quality control orders (QCO) for products of mass consumption, including machinery safety equipment, pressure cookers, toys and air conditioners, to curb Chinese imports and boost exports.

  • However, several WTO members have objected to this move and say that India’s QCOs are protectionist and may not be compliant with the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers

 

What are QCOs?

The main aim of the QCO is to control the import of sub-quality and cheaper items and to ensure that customers get quality products. QCOs cannot be challenged at WTO if they are imposed on grounds of health, safety, environment and deceptive trade practice, or national security. BIS certifies it for International and domestic products.

 

India’s stand:

  • All orders are in line with WTO norms
  • India has the right to impose QCOs since they are first applied in the domestic market and then on imports.
  • India’s rationale behind issuing QCOs is to curb the dumping of cheap products from China and to address the widening trade deficit, which is nearly 40% of the total deficit.

 

About Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade:

It provides regulations on technical standards including packaging, labelling requirements, and environmental quality standards to be kept during the trade. As per the WTO’s agreement, members shall not adopt unnecessary obstacles to international trade.