In a strategic move to fortify domestic manufacturing, the Indian government is contemplating broadening its recent import restrictions. After clamping down on laptop and personal computer imports, the focus might soon encompass other electronic devices, notably cameras, printers, and specific telecommunication equipment, the Economic Times reported, citing sources.
Deciphering the Import Landscape
For the fiscal year 2022-2023, India’s import bill for these electronic categories soared past ₹83,000 crore. However, the government’s scrutiny isn’t limited to electronics. It’s also examining other sectors, including agricultural and industrial products, which have witnessed substantial import volumes.
Zooming in on the ITA-1 List
The government’s lens is primarily on the 250 products under the Information Technology Agreement-1 (ITA-1). While India can’t impose import duties on these items, there’s mounting concern over the vast volume of end products being imported under this accord.
WTO Implications on the Horizon?
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Some industry pundits speculate that by regulating the imports of duty-free goods listed under ITA-1, India might be gearing up for potential disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Recent Regulatory Overhauls
A week ago, the government unveiled a new licensing requirement for importing a slew of computing devices, set to be effective from November 1. These gadgets accounted for imports worth ₹43,600 crore in the last fiscal year.
Global ITA-1 Dynamics Unveiled
A study from 2020 by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) revealed that out of 126 ITA-1 member nations, 114 are net importers. The export landscape is monopolized by nations like China, South Korea, and the US, jointly accounting for over 80% of total exports.
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