India testing policy gets flak from EU, US

14 Apr 2014

The Indian government has been accused of protectionism in the telecom sector by the European Union (EU) and industry representatives from the US regarding its policies on local sourcing and testing, the Economic Times writes. In a bid to tighten security and encourage the development of its domestic telecom manufacturing businesses, from 1 July this year India plans to oblige all network equipment to be screened locally, including equipment cleared by globally certified labs. Representatives from the EU said that the double testing would delay supply and increase costs, to the detriment of consumers. The EU also sought clarification on what would be required to face local screening, calling on India to drop mandatory testing for products not covered by the Common Criteria Recognition Agreement (CCRA). India’s capability to manage the amount of testing that would be required was also called into question, with the EU requesting an update on ‘India’s lab capacity to conduct local testing.’

For its part, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) of the US called on India not to embrace policies which ‘rely on protectionism,’ adding that the measures would disrupt the supply chain and result in greater costs for providers and vendors. The TIA wrote to the US International Trade Commission to protest against India’s plans, noting that: ‘There is no evidence that [the] location of an internationally accredited testing lab corresponds with the level of security assurance provided to it or the product itself. There are long-standing, internationally accredited labs conducting such testing and location does not have a bearing on the accuracy of the test as long as the lab has achieved appropriate certification.’

India, Department of Telecommunications (DoT)