India is rolling back its plan to impose restrictions on imports of laptops, months after an abrupt announcement raised alarm bells across the industry.
“India will not impose restrictions on laptop imports,” Trade Secretary Sunil Barthwal told a press conference on Friday.
He said the government “only wants importers to be on close watch.”
The import licensing regime, announced in August, aimed to “ensure trusted hardware and systems” enter India, according to government notification at the time.
Its implementation was, however, delayed by three months after objections from industry and criticism by Washington.
US trade chief Katherine Tai raised concerns with India over the move, which would also affect companies such as Apple, Dell and HP.
India’s Narendra Modi-government is now holding consultations with the electronics industry and a new order on laptop imports will be announced by the end of October, Directorate General of Foreign Trade Santosh Kumar Sarangi said.
The officials did not disclose details about the new plans. Sources with direct knowledge of government discussions, however, said in September that India’s electronics ministry may implement a simpler import registration process as opposed to the previously proposed licensing regime.
The new ‘imports management system’ may require companies to obtain ‘registration certificates’ for imports of laptops, tablets and personal computers, one of the officials said.
India’s electronics imports, including laptops, tablets and personal computers, stood at $19.7 billion in the April to June period, up 6.25% year-on-year.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena