The Rajya Sabha has approved amendments to the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, to enable the government to impose quantitative restrictions in case of import surge in merchandise to protect the domestic industry.

“The proposed amendments are necessary to instil a sense of confidence among thetechnology providers, and to ensure that trade in sensitive technologies, including dual-use technologies, is appropriately regulated,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said while piloting the amendment Bill.

The provision is relevant in the backdrop of surge in imports from China. Several members, including Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, had raised the issue of increasing imports from China.

Replying to the debate, Mr. Sharma said that safeguard measures were in place to check import surge or injury to Indian trade. Allaying fears about Chinese-made toys and idols of Indian gods and goddesses flooding the market, the Minister said that action was being taken to see that nothing damaging was done to our industry. “Directors-General of Anti-dumping and Safeguards, and the government itself have taken action to curb the inflow of harmful products into the domestic market.”

Mr. Sharma said that toys which did not conform to standards were banned, including those from China. Mobile handsets without the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers or those with just four-digit numbers had been immobilised. Also, chocolate and milk products from China were banned as they had toxic contents.

The amendment to the Act would also ensure conformity with the provisions of the law related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.

Dual-use technologies refer to strategically sensitive items which can also be used for making weapons or systems. Developed nations like the United States have been denying the country access to such technologies, which can be used for weapon development besides civilian use.

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