Apple, Acer, HP, Dell, and other PC manufacturers have reportedly requested the government to extend the deadline for obtaining licenses for laptops, PCs, tablets, and other items categorised under HSN code 8741. According to The Economic Times, IT hardware companies have stated that they require time to establish manufacturing plants in India. Consequently, these companies have appealed to the government to extend the deadline by a year.
The report citing one of the industry executives present at the meeting notes states that PC makers need time to set up plants in India. PC makers have also sought clarification about the “process for licensing.”
However, the decision not only affects foreign players, as many Indian IT companies rely on imports from other countries, including China. The government’s move to impose restrictions on laptop and PC imports from other countries is mainly to promote manufacturing in India. The report notes that the government has also sought feedback from Indian OEMs to understand their production capacity and the time needed to “ramp up.”
An industry executive told ET, “The notification had said shipments enroute would be cleared. But from August 4, a day after the DGFT notification came, all shipments were being stopped. There was no custom clearance happening till almost late evening of August 5.”
However, the government is reportedly downplaying concerns. Quoting an official, the report highlights, “All these companies already have very well-oiled mechanisms for imports and know the process to get shipments cleared. We have, however, assured them of all help.”
Govt’s restrictions on laptop and PC imports
In a release on August 3, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that PC OEMs will need to procure a licence to import laptops, PCs, tablets, and other products under HSN code 8741 to India.
While it is unclear whether the cost of laptops and tablets will increase, customers may have to bear some additional costs. However, in the long run, this move could benefit India as it will help reduce its dependence on China. The government has also been advocating production-linked incentives (PLI) for IT hardware. The scheme was revised earlier in May with an outlay of Rs 17,000 crore — double the budget that was initially approved in 2021. The restriction on PC imports reflects the government’s earlier action on colour TVs in 2020.
After the initial release, the government extended the deadline to procure the licence till November.