Indian govt defers curbs on laptop, mobile imports, gives three-month breather

Amid concerns over import duty restrictions on mobile phones, laptops and other IT hardware, the Indian government on Friday (August 4) clarified that the order won’t come into force immediately and that a buffer period would be given for a smooth transition.

“There will be a transition period for this to be put into effect which will be notified soon,” said Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar on social media platform X.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in a notification issued late Friday said that the implementation of the new import rules for laptops and mobile phones won’t go into effect till October 31. Hence, the new rules will come into effect on November 1.

Curb restriction order stoked concerns 

The clarification came a day after the Indian government imposed a licensing requirement for the import of laptops, tablets, and personal computers to help promote domestic manufacturing of these products under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware.

The announcement stoked fears that import restrictions could affect supplies resulting in increases in prices.

Chandrasekhar defended the move saying that all is being done to protect and strengthen the domestic manufacturing system from cheap imports.

“This is not at all abot license raj – It is about regulating imports to ensure trusted and verifiable systems AND ensuring India tech eco-system uses trusted n verified systems only that are imported and/or domestically manufactured trusted systems / products (sic),” he said.

The import restrictions have been directed at goods coming from China, Korea and Indonesia.

Why has India restricted the import of laptops, computers & tablets?

‘Move will improve domestic manufacturing’

Earlier in the day, the IT ministry said that the government would be prompt in issuing licences and not create supply gaps in the market.

New Delhi will issue licences for companies to import laptops and tablets within two days. Licences can be obtained online, Reuters news agency reported.

To apply for the licences, companies will have to provide information on consignment origin, number of pieces and past import history.

The Indian government had taken a similar move on smart TV imports a year ago to boost domestic manufacturing.

“India is becoming one of world’s fastest growing markets for digital products including laptops and servers. It is govt’s objective to ensure trusted hardware and systems, reduce import dependence and increase domestic manufacturing of this category of products. It is about regulating imports to ensure trusted and verifiable systems and ensuring India tech ecosystem uses trusted and verified systems only that are imported and/or domestically manufactured trusted systems / products,” Chandrasekhar posted on X.

(With inputs from agencies)

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