This morning, the the government of India placed restrictions on the import of laptops, tablets and personal computers with immediate effect, according to a notification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The notice added that imports would be allowed against a valid licence for restricted imports.
The notification read, “Import of laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, and ultra small form factor computers and servers falling under HSN 8741 shall be ‘restricted’ and their import would be allowed against a valid licence for restricted imports.”
Additionally, under the Baggage Rules that subject the travellers entering or leaving India to certain checks under Customs laws, the imports will be exempt from the curbs. One laptop, tablet, all-in-one personal computer, or ultra small form factor computer, including those bought from online portals through post or courier, will not be under the purview of the Import Licensing rules. However, unlike the previous regulations, duty on imports will have to be paid as required.
The statement clarified that 20 such items per consignment to focus on research and development, testing, benchmarking, evaluation, repair and re-export, and product development purposes will be exempted from import licence.
According to the notification, the items are to be utilised only for the intended purposes and are not meant to be sold. The items will be destroyed or re-exported after the said purpose is achieved. On re-import of goods repaired abroad, the government said a licence for restricted imports is mandatory for repair and return of the products.
In India, Tamil Nadu has risen to the top spot as the exporter of electronic goods for the 2022-2023 financial year nearly tripling in a year at USD 5.37 billion from USD 1.86 billion in the previous year. The import restrictions come amid pressure on India’s trade balance, with the merchandise trade deficit exceeding $20 billion in both May and June. Interestingly, electronic goods are India’s largest import category after petroleum products.