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Walmart looks to source toys, shoes, bicycles from India to boost exports

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NEW DELHI : Walmart Inc. is looking to source toys, shoes and bicycles from India, as part of its endeavour to increase its exports from India to $10 billion annually by 2027.

The US-based retailer also wants to develop new suppliers in categories such as food, pharmaceuticals, consumables, health and wellness, and apparel and home textiles, a company spokesperson told.

Officials from the Bentonville-headquartered firm recently held a virtual meeting with several domestic toy manufacturers here.

The company informed toy makers about their requirements and expected quality standards as it is directly engaging with the domestic toy makers for sourcing.

The move is significant and highlights India’s growing strength in the toy industry, especially since India was a net importer of toys until a few years ago. Global retailers such as IKEA are already sourcing toys from India for their international operations.

“Walmart’s growth in sourcing from India includes expanding working with existing suppliers and helping develop new suppliers in categories such as food, pharm, consumables, health and wellness along with apparel and home textiles,” the Walmart spokesperson said. “We are also exploring opportunities in toys, shoes, and bicycles.”

In December 2020, Walmart committed to triple its exports of goods from India to $10 billion each year by 2027, providing a significant boost to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) here.

“The expansion in sourcing will include helping develop hundreds of new suppliers in categories such as food, pharmaceuticals, consumables, health & wellness and general merchandise, along with apparel, homeware and other key Indian export categories,” it had said.

Earlier this month, Walmart Inc. President and CEO Doug McMillon reaffirmed its commitment during his visit to India and said that India’s unique ecosystem of suppliers will help the company in achieving its goal of exporting goods worth $10 billion from the country annually by 2027.

Addressing Indian suppliers, Doug McMillon has reaffirmed the roadmap for strengthening partnerships with Indian communities, expanding opportunities for Indian businesses and fostering transformative and innovative solutions for retail from India to the world.

McMillon had also met Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and tweeted, “Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi for a great conversation. We are working toward exporting USD 10B per year from India by 2027 and are committed to strengthening logistics, skill development & supply chains to make India a global export leader in toys, seafood & other goods.”

“The visit with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi reinforces the shared value we bring working alongside India. Together, we’ll continue to support the country’s manufacturing growth and create opportunity,” McMillon was quoted as saying in a tweet by Walmart Inc.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which is taking a series of steps to promote domestic manufacturing of toys, is also helping Indian manufacturers tie up with the global players to meet their compliance provisions and increase exports from India.

When asked about the issue, Manu Gupta, promotor of Playgro Toys India and Chairman of Toy Association of India, said a US-based retailer has approached the industry to procure toys in three main categories, including ride-on and outdoor toys and mechanical and electrical toys, worth $400 million.

He said DPIIT officials are helping the industry engage with these world players and get orders.

The country’s toy exports were worth Rs 1,017 crore in April-December 2022-23. In 2021-22, the exports stood at Rs 2,601 crore. During April-December 2013-14, the shipments were at Rs 167 crore. Overall toy imports reduced by 70% to Rs 870 crore in 2021-22.

In February 2020, import duty on toys was raised from 20% to 60% and now, it has increased to 70% this year, with an aim to discourage imports.

The government is also considering rolling out a fiscal incentive scheme — PLI (production-linked incentive) — for toys.

In 2020, the government issued a Toys (Quality Control) Order. As per the order, toys have to conform to the requirements of relevant Indian standards and bear the standard mark under a licence. It is applicable to both domestic as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India.

The QCO has been issued to ensure that consumers, who are children only below the age of 14 years, are not exposed to sub-standard goods/ goods containing toxic material/toys containing toxic material.

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