Centre eases import restrictions on PCs, laptops and tablets

Importers can change the quantity of goods purchased even after the issuance of an import authorisation. 
Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | Pexels)
Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | Pexels)

NEW DELHI:  The Centre on Thursday eased the curbs on import of laptops as it announced a simpler, online authorisation system for the purchase of seven electronic items including laptops, tablets, and all-in-all personal computers from overseas markets.

Commerce ministry officials said the end-to-end online import management system, which will kick in on November 1, 2023, is aimed at monitoring shipments of laptops, tablets and PCs without hurting market supply or creating a cumbersome licensing regime. Importers will be able to bring in these electronic products after specifying the quantity and value, and obtaining the authorisation online. The authorisation will be valid till September 30, 2024.

Importers can change the quantity of goods purchased even after the issuance of an import authorisation. 
The government had announced a ban on import of laptops, tablets and personal computers in August 2023. Later, it clarified that there was no ban but electronic manufacturing firms would need to apply for licence to import these items from November 1, 2023.

However, after protests from the industry and some trading partners including the US, the government has now watered down the restrictions. According to the commerce ministry, 59% (in value terms) of the seven restricted items are imported from China, 16% from Singapore, and 9% from Hong Kong.

S Krishnan, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, said the purpose of the new import management system is to establish a reliable supply chain for these electronic devices and promote domestic manufacturing. He added that no WTO norms would be violated by the restrictions. After September 2024, Krishnan said the government will study the data, interact with the industry, and then decide on ways to move forward.

Online clearance

  • The new system allows importers of IT hardware to bring in shipments from overseas on a mere ‘authorisation’ upon detailing quantity and value
  • The new regime will be a big relief to tech giants as they won’t require a licence to import
  • While seeking authorisation, an importer will have to provide an import item summary and details of past import, export & turnover
  • Govt won’t reject any import requests and will use the data to monitor the inbound shipments

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