A One-Time Solution to Laptop and PC Import Licensing Norms

A One-Time Solution to Laptop and PC Import Licensing Norms

The government’s new rules for importing laptops and tablets have raised concerns about a return to older, more restrictive policies. However, a senior government official has assured that this is a one-time action and not a common practice in various sectors

Preventing a Return to the 1990s

The official emphasized the need to prevent these measures from taking us back to the regulations of the early 1990s. They stressed the importance of remaining watchful to ensure that words like “license” don’t reappear in our everyday language.

Security-Driven Adjustments

Highlighting the change in import rules for laptops, tablets, and servers, the official stressed that this adjustment was primarily driven by security concerns. They made it clear that similar licensing requirements are unlikely to apply to other imported items.

Import Policy Changes

Last month, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade within the Commerce Ministry altered the import policy conditions for certain goods, including laptops, personal computers, servers, and tablets. They specified that importing these items would be ‘restricted’ and necessitate a valid license for restricted imports. Initially scheduled to take effect on August 3, the import restrictions were later postponed and will now be enforced starting November 1.

No Reconsideration of Import Licensing

Government sources have indicated that they won’t reconsider their decision regarding import licensing for these products. Additionally, they plan to provide further details about the licensing rules soon.

Encouraging Local Production

This decision was primarily aimed at encouraging more investors to engage in local production of these items under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. The government emphasized that this move was made due to concerns about data security. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal assured that there won’t be any disruption in the availability or pricing of these products.

Concerns Among Companies

However, this decision has sparked concerns among companies and raised worries that the licensing rules might affect the shipment of products from global giants like Apple and Dell.

US Trade Representative’s Concerns

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai also expressed her concerns about this decision during a meeting with Goyal on August 26. The US statement issued after the meeting stated, “She noted that there were stakeholders that needed an opportunity to review and provide input to ensure that the policy, if implemented, does not have an adverse impact on U.S. exports to India.”

Increased Interest in PLI Program

Since then, about 40 companies have submitted applications for the PLI 2.0 program for hardware. Some of these are well-known international companies like HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo. Additionally, the total PLI allocation has been raised to Rs 22,880 crore from the initial Rs 17,000 crore.

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