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Govt asks post office, courier firms to monitor goods shipment from Chinese e-tailers

In a move to escalate crackdown against Chinese e-tailers escaping custom duty and taxes, the government has asked post office and courier firms to keep an eye on shipments from China.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in a letter asked the post office to ensure the shipments are genuine gifts. Earlier only customs department was asked to undertake strict action after govt noticed a violation of domestic law and a rise in the number of products from China coming in as gifts.

Now, the post office would scrutinise such transactions, said an ET report quoting people aware of the development.

As per customs official, Chinese e-tailers are continuously been getting goods in the guise of gifts. They are shipping goods ordered by Indians to many cities claiming them as gifts. Gifts up to Rs 5k for personal use are exempted for customs duties.

Every day, as per an estimate around 150K-200K orders were placed every day through Chinese e-commerce platforms in India which escaped any form of taxes.

In December last year, the Mumbai customs department had noticed multiple consignments of goods in the guise of gifts. It also found address used in most cases as fictitious.

Following the incident, the govt had stopped the import of goods through Mumbai. It is also mulling to impose a similar clampdown on ports in Chennai and Kolkatta.

In January, the government had imposed a clampdown on shipments of goods from Chinese e-commerce platforms to India as gifts.

The decision comes after noticing a violation of domestic law and a rise in the number of products from China coming in as gifts. The order is mainly to curb the rampant practice by Chinese e-tailers in the country to exploit loopholes in the present regulations.

In the last couple of years, e-tailers from China such as Club Factory, Shein and Aliexpress have become popular in India. All the e-tailers boast of having a huge user base in India.

Several small traders and domestic e-tailers had complained against Chinese e-tailers saying they are taking advantage of the exemption from customs duties.

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