India’s laptop import limits could extend to cameras and printers

Earlier this month, the Central Government of India introduced import restrictions on personal computers (PCs), laptops, and tablets, necessitating mandatory licenses for such imports. Recent reports indicate that authorities are contemplating extending similar limitations to other electronic devices like cameras, printers, hard disks, and components for telephonic and telegraphic equipment.

Reportedly, Imports of these goods are estimated to have exceeded $10.08 billion in the fiscal year 2022-2023. The government’s intent behind these moves is to encourage domestic production by creating opportunities for local manufacturing of these devices.

The government is closely monitoring the import of around 250 items categorised under the Information Technology Agreement-1 (ITA-1), which currently enjoy exemption from import duties.

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According to the reports, the primary focus lies on high-volume products that pose potential risks. ITA-1 includes a broad range of sophisticated products such as integrated circuits, computers, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, software, and scientific instruments.

The most valuable items include chips and displays, which require a boost in domestic manufacturing. Additionally, there is an emphasis on promoting local production of printers, keyboards, hard disks, and scanners.

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Furthermore, the government is reportedly reviewing similar trade restrictions on various other high-import commodities. This list includes items like urea, antibiotics, turbo-jets, lithium-ion accumulators, machines, solar cells, and edible goods like sunflower seed oil and cashew nuts.

The recent announcement outlined that, effective from November 1, import licenses will become mandatory for various computing devices, encompassing laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, ultra-small factor PCs, and servers. Importers will need licenses for an array of computers, with exceptions made for specific capital goods category PCs. Import licenses will be waived for up to 20 items per shipment for purposes such as research, testing, repair, product development, and benchmarking.

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