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Test Kits from China to India- Buyer’s Satisfaction Paramount and Not That Of Seller

India ordered from China more than half a million  kits to boost it’s screening

By N.S.Venkataraman

Facing COVID 19 crisis, several countries including India hurriedly placed orders for test kits from China for testing for antibodies to the coronavirus

Order from India :

India ordered from China more than half a million  kits to boost it’s screening.

After receiving the test kits,   ICMR ( Indian Council of Medical Research) , the top agency dealing with Coronavirus outbreak in India, said that the performance of the test kits received from China are not reliable and therefore,  asked all states in India not to use the Chinese test kits anymore.

Angry reaction from China :

This decision of ICMR not to use test kits from China has provoked angry reactions from China , which termed  Indian decision as unfair and irresponsible. China gave itself self certification  that Chinese authorities have validated the equipment produced by the two Chinese firms namely Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.

India China testing kits
Facing COVID 19 crisis, several countries including India hurriedly placed orders for test kits from China for testing for antibodies to the coronavirus. (Representational Image). Flickr

Like a typical seller who would like to save his  skin after supplying bad quality products ,  China has virtually accused  Indian medical practitioners of not having enough expertise to use the equipment. China said  “ the tests needed to be carried out in a professional manner to produce accurate results. There are strict requirements for  the storage, transportation and use of COVID 19 antibody rapid test kits. Any operation which is not carried out  by professionals in accordance with the product specifications will lead to the testing accuracy variations”.

Obviously, with such statement, China  has attempted to humiliate the Indian medical professionals by doubting their competence and knowledge level. This is a negative statement  made with the intention of evading from the responsibility of a supplier,  which needs to be strongly condemned.

Different reaction to the rejection in other countries :

Earlier, when countries like Spain rejected the test kits from China due to quality issues , China responded by offering to replace them. However, when India rejected test kits , China has  termed it as irresponsible decision. Does this mean that China has  different yardsticks for different countries and  views India’s decision with contempt ?

Lack of adherence to procurement procedure :

The fact is that neither India nor other countries which bought the Chinese test kits ,have inspected the shop floor practices and quality control measures in the producing units in China.  The ground reality is that  China exploited the anxiety of the buyers to procure test kits at any cost in view of the urgency and  the buyers did not visit the units to inspect the shop floor practices and quality control procedures adopted. Obviously, the buyers waived such procurement procedures in view of the urgency and China also restricted the movement of  international visitors .

It has been an improper buying procedure  adopted by the purchasing countries including India,  which seem to have just taken for granted the assurance of China that the Chinese authorities have validated the equipment produced in China by the supplying units.

Is there role for sub contractors for supply ?

It is usual practice for major producers to sub contract the production to small sub contractors ,  if there would be large order beyond the capacity of the producers to supply at stipulated schedule.

Many people now wonder,  that faced with the huge order situation, many small Chinese producers could also have produced the test kits   as sub contractors to the major suppliers from  China and the quality of test kits supplied by such sub contractors  might not have been subjected to strict  quality check and control.  This aspect needs to be instigated.

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 In any case, the main producers  and the government of China is accountable for the quality of the test kits, particularly when exported.

Satisfaction of buyer paramount :

All said and done, internationally in all buyer seller  contract ,the satisfaction of the buyers are paramount and not that of sellers. In other words, sellers have the responsibility to satisfy the buyers in all respects.

Instead of merely explaining  as to why the test kits have failed to give reliable results in India , Chinese producers should have demonstrated and proved the reliability of the test kits , China has merely  called India’s decision as irresponsible. On the other hand,  one may not be wrong if he would conclude  that only China has been irresponsible.

Today, China stands accused as an unrepentant seller , with least regard for the interest of the buyers.

India is certainly entitled to reject the test kits , if it would not be satisfied, which is the legitimate and internationally acceptable practice of buyers.

Payment for the test kits :

ICMR  has said  that it has not made any payment  from government treasury to Chinese suppliers.  This could be factually correct.

India China testing kits
Facing COVID 19 crisis, several countries including India hurriedly placed orders for test kits from China for testing for antibodies to the coronavirus. Pixabay

However, 13 Indian suppliers ( importers / distributors)  have been licenced by Government of India to import the Chinese  test kits.

It is most unlikely that Chinese companies would have supplied the test kits without receiving full or part payment in advance from the distributors.

It remains to be explained as to whether the distributors  in India  have opened firm and irrevocable  Letter of Credit for supply  to Chinese firms , probably with some credit period  for payment. If this would be the case, then the Chinese firms would receive their sale proceedings from Indian distributors, though Government of India can say that it has not paid any money to Chinese firms from it’s treasury. This  aspect remains to be investigated and explained by Government of India.

Also Read- University Corruption EXPOSED: Retrenchment Was Like a COVID-19 Attack

Will China take back the rejected test kits ?:

Finally, it is not clear how ICMR would handle the situation, if Chinese firms would refuse to accept the  rejected and returned test kits. This doubt arises, since China has termed India’s rejection of test kits as irresponsible  and unfair.

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