• | 12:51 pm

India may defer import curbs on laptops in view of festive season

But a new import management system is likely to kick in from November 1

India may defer import curbs on laptops in view of festive season
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India may defer compulsory licensing requirements for laptops and PCs and, instead, introduce an import management system, in what would come as a breather for global consumer electronics makers such as HP, Dell, Acer, and Lenovo.

Under the new system, tech importers will not need mandatory licenses for importing laptops and PCs, but will have to register under a proposed import management system, Bloomberg reported, citing people aware of government plans.

The new import management system is likely to come into force from 1 November, the report said, adding that the decision was taken to avoid affecting laptop and PC sales during the upcoming festival season.

Industry representatives were informed of the proposed changes at a stakeholder meeting last Friday. The India Cellular and Electronics Association, which had a representative at the meeting, declined to comment.

Policy shock

Last month, the Indian government rattled consumer electronics manufacturers such as HP, Dell, Acer, Samsung, LG, Apple, and Lenovo by announcing immediate import restrictions on laptops and tablets.

Analysts said the move was driven by security concerns and an ambition to bolster domestic manufacturing. Specifically, the government targeted key industry players who import mainly from China and South Korea.

However, just a day after the government took the startling step, India’s trade regulator hit the pause button, delaying the restrictions for three months.

Going local

New Delhi is now looking to step up domestic production of consumer electronics while trying to ensure sufficient supplies.

The importers will be asked to register under the Centre’s new import management system, and the curbs on PCs and laptops are likely to be introduced only by late next year, The Indian Express reported.

Importers will need to share the number of laptops and computers that they are bringing into the country under the proposed import management system. An import quota will come into effect after Indian companies boost the production of these gadgets locally.

CNBC reported that the curbs will likely come into force only in late 2024, and the gradual ramp-up process is set to conclude by 25 November next year.

Incentives approach

India is focusing on electronics manufacturing as a priority area and is looking for global investors to invest and expand their production in India as part of their China-plus-one strategy.

As part of the PLI2.0 production-linked incentives scheme for IT hardware, 44 companies have already registered, and two more have pending applications, tech portal GadgetsNow reported.

Imports of electronics, including laptops, tablets, and personal computers, in the April-to-June quarter stood at $19.7 billion, up 6.25% from a year ago.

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