After a virtual meeting on Wednesday with representatives of multiple ecommerce platforms, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recommended a timeline of August 1 for displaying the country of origin for all new products.
The department has given etailers time until October 1 for tags on legacy products that have already been listed on the platforms.
This follows an announcement by the department made of June 24 that it will now be mandatory for all ecommerce platforms to declare the country of origin for products. This was done to promote the Aatmanirbhar Bharat programme and to reduce the share of Chinese products being sold on online platforms.
The department will soon issue a clarification on how medicines and pharmaceutical products sold online can display country of origin as a bulk of raw materials for the sector are sourced globally.
Participants also raised questions regarding compliance with the new rule for unbranded products on sale as well as products that have been repackaged and sold through distributors, said a senior executive for an e-commerce company who was part of the discussion.
The provision for displaying country of origin follows the amendment made to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rule 2011, which came into effect in 2018. This requires displaying a country of origin on imported products. The DPIIT is also likely to clarify whether the regulations have to be followed by domestic products as well.
“There is no punitive action which has been stipulated by DPIIT for the timelines as these are based on a ‘best-effort’ basis,” the executive said.
The meeting was attended by representatives of ecommerce players including Flipkart, Amazon India, Snapdeal, Paytm Mall, 1MG, Swiggy and Zomato among others.
While Flipkart said that it will be able to comply with the requirement for new product listings by August 15, Amazon has asked for an extension of two to three months for compliance. Sellers contacted by TechCircle for the platforms said that they had not yet received any communication.
“As part of the listing process, Snapdeal already provides an input field for sellers to add information relating to the country of origin of the product being listed,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said in response to TechCircle’s queries.
“We are in the process of advising our sellers to pay specific attention to this and include this information as part of their listings,” he added.
The government had previously made it mandatory for sellers on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to display country of origin against product listings and said that Chinese goods will not be procured from the platform. The measures follow a stand-off between the two countries that led to the ban of 59 Chinese-origin apps in the country.