India Delays Import Law That Halted Computer Shipments

(Image credit: Dell)

India has revised its unexpected decision to restrict PC and tablet imports without a license, now offering companies a three-month window to obtain the necessary documents. The licensing mandate is set to take effect from November 1, reports Bloomberg. This move comes after large PC makers halted imports due to the surprising directive.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) clarified late last week that companies could continue their electronic imports, including laptops and tablets, without a license until October 31. To facilitate this transition, the government is streamlining the licensing application process, with the possibility of approvals within just a day. This move is not just about regulation but is part of a broader initiative to boost local manufacturing and position India as a global tech manufacturing hub. 

There is a problem with local manufacturing of PCs. While major electronic manufacturing service companies like Foxconn have established their presence in India, companies like Apple cannot really make their PCs at those factories since they require advanced tools and a lot of engineering. 

India's government seems to understand that it is difficult to transfer production of state-of-the-art PCs to the country as major EMS companies do not have advanced factories in India. That's why they are rolling out a financial incentive worth $2.1 billion that aims to attract global tech manufacturers to India. The initiative may make sense, though, as many companies are looking to diversify their supply chains away from China.

The initial decision caught the tech industry by surprise, especially with significant events like India's Diwali shopping season and the back-to-school phase on the horizon. Major players like Apple, HP, and Samsung paused their imports of their desktops, laptops, and tablets to India following the abrupt order. The industry was left in a lurch, trying to navigate the sudden change and its implications for their operations in the country. 

But now that PC makers have three months to obtain import license, they can continue business as usual. Furthermore, chipmaker Intel expects limited impact on its sales in the country, partly because if a global player reduces shipments of Intel-based PCs to India, a local player will pick up the baton and will get CPUs from the blue company.

"The legal and regulatory landscape for the semiconductor industry is constantly evolving, and Intel respects the relevant regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates," an Intel spokesperson told Tom's Hardware. "We continue to examine the new requirements issued by India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry and expect limited impact to Intel and our customers."

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.