In setback for laptop manufacturers, Centre refuses to postpone move to restrict imports from November 1

An official said the govt is pleased with the response received for the Production Linked Incentive scheme, so there was no need to give more transition time to firms to start manufacturing in India.

Published: 28th August 2023 05:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2023 05:25 PM   |  A+A-

Govt defers laptop import curbs till Nov 1

For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: In a setback for laptop manufacturers, the government on Monday refused to postpone its directive, which restricts the import of laptops, all-in-one personal computers and tablets in the country beyond November 1.

Alkesh Kumar Sharma, the secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), said the government is pleased with the response received for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for large electronics and hence there was no need to give more transition time to these companies to start manufacturing in India. “So far, we have received 58 registrations for the scheme, encompassing entities both large and small, and representing both Indian and foreign interests. As the deadline to apply for the scheme is August 30, 2023, we expect more registrations,” said Sharma.

On August 4, the government made a sudden announcement imposing import restrictions on personal computers, laptops and tablets. It also mandated the requirement of a licence for bulk imports of these goods. Subsequently, the government decided to postpone its order until November 1, 2023.

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Later, the major laptop manufacturers including Dell, Acer, Samsung, Panasonic, Apple, Lenovo and HP held a meeting with Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). In the meeting, the companies raised several concerns including the decision and the process of obtaining licences. The companies mentioned that it would take at least 6-12 months to initiate manufacturing in India and requested for an extension in the transition period.

Later, eight US-based trade bodies, including the Consumer Technology Association, Information Technology Industry Council, Semiconductor Industry Association and the United States Council for International Business, penned a letter to the US Trade Representative and the US Secretary of Commerce, expressing concerns about the decision. In their letter, they urged the US government to initiate dialogue with the government of India to ensure that its measures in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector align with India’s international trade obligations and commitments.

“I believe there are no concerns among electronic manufacturers regarding the decision. Therefore, the government does not plan to extend the deadline,” said the secretary.

According to the Counterpoint Research firm, India’s total laptop or PC market size is close to $8 billion dollars annually and approximately 65% of units are imported. In June 2023, the government re-launched the PLI scheme for large electronics, doubling the incentives to Rs 17,000 crore. As per the scheme, companies can file their applications till 30 August.

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