In a move to bolster domestic manufacturing and reduce reliance on foreign electronics, particularly from China, India has rolled out its new “import management system” for tracking shipments of gadgets like laptops, tablets, and PCs. This digital system, which kicks off on Wednesday, will automate the import authorization process. Companies will need to register the specifics of their imports, including quantity and value.
As noted in a report by Nikkei, this initiative is seen as a precursor to a potential licensing requirement for such imports, a proposal that had previously stirred concerns among businesses and even the U.S. and Chinese governments. The primary goal? Strengthening domestic manufacturing and addressing cybersecurity threats.
How’s The New System Is Supposed To Work?
The system, developed after extensive consultations, aims to digitize the customs clearance process. Import approvals granted will remain valid until September 2024. S. Krishnan from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) emphasized the user-friendly and automated nature of the system, which will provide the government with essential data to ensure a trusted digital ecosystem in India.
Previous Import Restrictions: In August, the government announced restrictions on the import of certain electronics, which led to significant pushback from the industry. However, by October, the stance shifted from restrictions to monitoring.
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In response, the U.S. expressed concerns about the impact on tech giants like Apple and Dell. China, being a major exporter to India, also raised objections at the World Trade Organization.
Meanwhile, top electronics industry bodies have welcomed the new system, hoping for a smooth registration process and quick import authorizations.
What’s Next? Post-September 2024, the government will decide on the next steps after analyzing the data from the system. Some experts anticipate the return of the licensing requirement, given India’s vast market potential and the government’s push for local manufacturing.
In essence, while India is keen on promoting local manufacturing, it’s treading cautiously, ensuring a balance between domestic interests and international relations.
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