New Delhi: The government on Thursday imposed import restrictions on laptops, tablets, and certain types of computers with immediate effect for security reasons and the need to promote domestic manufacturing, a move that will also curtail inbound shipments of these goods from countries such as China and Korea.
The decision is likely to lead to an increase in prices, according to industry experts.
Importers of these items would have to seek permission or license from the government for their inbound shipments, following the decision taken primarily “to ensure that the security of our citizens is fully safeguarded”, a senior government official said.
Indians must not be exposed to risky machines
Indian citizens need to have an environment and ecosystem where they are not exposed to machines or instruments which might have security risks, the official said. “Some of the hardware could potentially have security related issues and could compromise sensitive and personal data,” he said.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade in a notification, however, said certain exemptions have been given against these curbs. Under the transition provisions of the foreign trade policy, if the bill of lading and letter of credit has been issued or opened before August 3, that import consignments can be imported.
Can this lead to price hike?
An importer can apply for a licence from August 4. The trader should have to be a regular importer to get a licence. Industry experts have expressed apprehension that the move could lead to an increase in the prices of laptops, computers, MacBooks, and Mac Minis in the Indian market as, in the short run, the import restriction is bound to create a scarcity in the market. In other words, there will be higher demand and less supply.
“With the total laptop/PC market size close to $8 billion dollars annually and approximately 65 percent of units being imported,
Government wants to push domestic production
The government’s move is aimed at promoting domestic production and reducing dependence on imports against the backdrop of about 65 per cent of the units in the close to $8 billion market is being imported, according to Tarun Pathak, the research director of Counterpoint, a global technology market research firm.
The industry comprises around 12 million units and this restriction may lead to some short-term supply disruptions, especially for brands such as Apple, HP, and Lenovo, Pathak said.
The move may also help Reliance, which launched JioBook recently, and other Indian companies as local companies may find it easier to get the import exemption licence.