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US, Canada Question India's BIS Norms: All You Need To Know

They have raised concerns about lack of transparency, and quality control for chemicals, toys, ICT (information communication technology), and automobile parts

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USA, Canada, and Taiwan have questioned India's Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They have raised concerns about lack of transparency, and quality control for chemicals, toys, ICT (information communication technology), and automobile parts.

What are BIS Norms?

BIS is the nation standards body of India under Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India. It was established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 which came into effect on 12th October 2017. They certify products across the country for which they have 7 laboratories across the country. They test about 25,000 samples every year across food, chemicals, electrical, and mechanical disciplines. Every laboratory has over 500 scientists which test products across the spectrum, following which they can get a BIS certification in one of the categories, namely, ISI, Agmark, FPO mark, green and brown dot, Indian Organic Certification. BIS also runs a laboratory recognition scheme, under which a private laboratory can be recognised as well.

What happened?

Given these norms, USA and Canada are unable to export to India, which can add to delays in products hitting the market. The exporters have to duplicate the testing now, which also adds to their cost. These are the primary reasons why they are opposing BIS norms. These countries have gone to WTO highlighting this issue as ‘unfair trade practices'. Their ask is for BIS to accept checks done in internationally accredited labs, like International Accredition Cooperation (ILAC).

What is ILAC?

It started as a conference which is now an organisation located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The agenda of this body is to promote global trade, and enforce uniform standards for all products. While India is a member of this organisation, it refuses to accept it over BIS norms.

India is still reviewing the papers submitted to WTO by these countries. India has also said there are 450 products India includes in the ambit of certification due to multiple factors. The government makes it mandatory for these products to obtain BIS certification. A flip side is the boost domestic manufacturing in India will get. For example, toy imports are going down and exports going up


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