E-tailers in India begin work to list ‘country of origin’ labels on products By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An employee of Amazon walks via a turnstile gate inside an Amazon Fulfillment Centre (BLR7) on the outskirts of Bengaluru

By Sankalp Phartiyal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Ecommerce companies in India like Amazon.com (NASDAQ:)’s local unit and Walmart (NYSE:)’s Flipkart have begun to update their back-end systems to allow sellers to identify the united states of origin on brand new product listings on their platforms, two sources aware of the problem said on Wednesday.

The Indian trade ministry’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which hosted an online meeting of ecommerce players on Wednesday, wanted the changes to be implemented by the end of July.

The organizations, however, said they would need two to three months, according to the sources, who asked perhaps not to be named since the discussions were private.

The changes would first be made for new product listings because it was difficult to try this for the tens of millions of products already selling on their platforms, they added.

Amazon, Flipkart and DPIIT failed to respond to requests for comment.

The government push to have ecommerce companies name the country of origin beside product listings comes contrary to the backdrop of tensions between India and China carrying out a border skirmish in June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Trader groups have since needed a boycott of Chinese-made products and echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s require a self-reliant nation. New Delhi has barred 59 Chinese origin apps, and Chinese goods in ports have faced extra scrutiny and delays.

“In the current context, there is an anti-China sentiment so if there is labelling, it could potentially influence purchases,” said Devangshu Dutta, head of retail consultancy firm Third Eyesight.

E-tailers have previously asked the government to clarify this is of “country of origin”, which they say remains vague with some products assembled in countries including India but making use of their components or raw materials sourced from still another nation.

On Wednesday, the government said it would discuss the matter internally, according to the sources.

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