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Difficult Quality Standard Norms of US and EU Act as Non-tariff Barriers, Says Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal Goyal said the business council meeting is a good forum to discuss concerns and best practices, share ideas, and flag the problems.

Piyush Goyal Goyal said the business council meeting is a good forum to discuss concerns and best practices, share ideas, and flag the problems.

Goyal said India is one of the countries which has not so far used quality control orders or standards as much as it should have.

The difficult-to-meet quality standard norms of the US and Europe act as non-trade barriers and impede free flow of goods and services, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday. "I think the US is the leader of creating non-tariff barriers through these quality control orders and standards. Europe has such extremely impossible to meet standards on several products which work as a non-tariff barrier and create an impediment to free flow of goods and services," the minister said.

The minister made the remarks during a conversation with Ajay Banga, USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum) board member and CEO, Mastercard. He was replying to a question about different standards of products and problems being faced by small and medium enterprises in meeting those norms.

Goyal said India is one of the countries which has not so far used quality control orders or standards as much as it should have.

"In fact, I was seeing the records, we have not even got one-tenth the number of quality control orders or standards as Europe and the US have and that actually is detrimental to Indian industry because the industry never focused on quality as much as it should have," he added.

The minister said it is now important that India establishes itself as a high quality manufacturer and hence the government is introducing quality control orders in different sectors. Soon, the ministry will introduce quality control orders on several more products and this exercise is going to continue, he added.

"India will have its own quality standards but we are open to learning from existing global standards," the minister said, adding "very soon" all procurement is going to be based on Indian standards. Just like Indian companies have to meet standards of the US and other countries, "I think it should be a two-way traffic", Goyal said. He also said that on several products, overarching standards have sought to be imposed, which are more like non-tariff barriers.

Citing examples of milk products and pharma goods, he said certain standards have been set up which make it almost impossible for Indian businesses to engage with that market. Talking about steps being taken by the government to further improve business climate, he said it is looking at the entire compliance burden to demystify it and make it simpler.

The government is also de-criminalising a lot of laws and even scrapping some legislations which do not have relevance in today's world. "We are trying to get the government out of the lives of businesses in India…We are looking at easier approvals, easier regulatory processes," he said. The ministry is working to create a genuine single window concept, where all sorts of approvals of the central government, states and various regulators can be dovetailed into one common database, he added. "I will assure you that in the next six months, we will make it simple," Goyal said.

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