Govt bans imported laptops, tablets, computers to fuel domestic manufacturing

Importers of banned items would now have to seek permission or license from the government for their inbound shipments

govt bans imported laptops tablets to boost domestic manufacturing

With immediate effect, the government has imposed import restrictions on laptops, tablets, and certain type of computers. This decision is a move that will curtail inbound shipments of these goods from countries like China and boost domestic manufacturing.

Importers of these items would now have to seek permission or license from the government for their inbound shipments.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notification, however, said certain exemptions have been given against these curbs.

“Import of laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, and ultra small form factor computers, servers… is ‘restricted’ with immediate effect,” it said.

The restrictions are also there on micro computers, large or mainframe computers, and certain data processing machines. Import of all these items would be allowed against a valid license.

It added that there is an exemption from seeking import licensing for up to 20 items per consignment for R&D, testing, benchmarking and evaluation, repair and return, and product development purposes.

These curbs are also not applicable to imports under baggage rules.

“Exemption from import licensing requirements is provided for import of 1 laptop, tablet, all in one personal computer, or ultra small form factor computer, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier. Imports shall be subject to payment of duty as applicable,” it said.

It added that exceptions would also be there as these goods are an essential part of Capital Goods.

According to a report of think-tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), India’s 65 per cent imports from China are limited to just three product groups – electronics, machinery, and organic chemicals.

It has stated that India is critically dependent on China for day-to-day use and industrial products like mobile phones, laptops, components, solar cell modules, and ICs.

The government has taken several steps to boost domestic manufacturing of electronic items such as rolling out of the production-linked incentive scheme and increasing customs duties on the number of electronic components.

Leading electronic brands which are sold in the market include HCL, Samsung, Dell, LG Electronics, Acer, Apple, Lenovo and HP.

India has imported personal computers including laptops worth USD 5.33 billion in 2022-23, as against USD 7.37 billion in 2021-22. Imports of certain data processing machines stood at USD 553 million in the last fiscal, against USD 583.8 million in 2021-22.

Similarly, imports of micro computers/processors stood at USD 1.2 million in the last fiscal against USD 2.08 million in 2021-22.

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