As part of a notable effort to strengthen local manufacturing and reduce dependency on imports, the Indian government has taken a significant step by imposing “immediate” restrictions on the import of laptops, tablets, and personal computers, according to reports from PTI.
Centre imposes restrictions on import of laptops, tablets and personal computers today with immediate effect.
In a notification, government states that the import of these items would be allowed against a valid licence for restricted imports.
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) August 3, 2023
Impact of New Import Rules
- Under the new rules, companies will now need an import license, which could potentially cause delays in the simultaneous launches of new PCs and laptop models in the Indian markets.
- The Ministry of Commerce and Industry clarified that the mentioned restriction will not apply to imports under Baggage Rules, as amended occasionally.
- The government grants an import licensing exemption for a single laptop, tablet, all-in-one personal computer, or ultra-small form factor computer, including those purchased from e-commerce portals via post or courier.
The exemption from import licensing extends to up to 20 items per consignment, specifically for R&D testing, benchmarking, evaluating, repairing, re-exporting, and product development purposes. It is essential to ensure that these goods are solely utilized for the mentioned objectives to comply with the regulations.
- Users must strictly use the imported goods for specified purposes and cannot sell them within the country. Once they achieve their objectives, users will render the products unusable or re-export them.
Why the restriction?
- The government recognizes a significant opportunity for Indian manufacturers to step in as electronics imports, comprising laptops, tablets, and personal computers, reached $19.7 billion during April-June 2023, with an annual growth rate of approximately 6%.
- The recent action demonstrates the Indian government’s determined effort to boost the domestic manufacturing sector.
- India aims to reduce heavy reliance on imports, particularly from China. Laptops, tablets, and personal computers account for 1.5% of total annual imports, with nearly half from China. Prior high tariffs on mobile phones led to a successful $38 billion in domestic production last year.
- Aligned with production-linked incentives (PLIs) for over two dozen industries, including electronics, the government extends the application deadline for its $2 billion manufacturing incentive scheme. This initiative seeks significant investments in IT hardware manufacturing, aiming for an annual electronics production worth $300 billion by 2026.