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MeitY-industry hold talks to ease Nov 1 laptop import policy announcement

To address industry concerns on import curbs on laptops, computers and tablets announced recently, the Centre is examining options such as allowing importers to register online instead of going through the hassles of getting a licence, like in case of steel, or postponing implementation of the restrictions by a year or more, sources said.

“MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) is holding consultations with the industry on their concerns on the import restrictions that are to kick in from November 1. It will discuss its proposals with the DGFT (Directorate-General of Foreign Trade) by the end of September,” a source tracking the matter told businessline.

The options being discussed between the industry and the government include going in for an online registration of importers instead of the cumbersome licencing process. “The government already has the steel import monitoring system in place where importers don’t need a licence to import but get registered online. A unique code is generated that has to be put in the bill of entry for carrying out imports. Something similar could be tried out for laptops and computers if required,” the source said.

A registration done by an importer can be valid for a long time depending on what the government decides, he added.

“Through the registration process, the government can choose to keep out companies that it believes may pose a security risk,” the source added. A large part of the $7-8 billion of laptops, tablets, and computers imported annually into the country comes from China, which could also be checked through the registration process, the official said.

The government may also decide to postpone the implementation of the licensing decision by a year or more, which is again a strong demand being made by the industry, the source said.

On August 3, a notification imposing licencing conditions on imports of laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, and ultra-small form factor computers and servers was issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) applicable with immediate effect.

The government said it was to address India’s security concerns, especially related to items shipped from China, as well as boost local manufacturing which was already being incentivised by the PLI scheme. The Hindu BusinessLine

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