Indian IT hardware import rules: No licenses, but a new system could be implemented

The Indian government has reportedly abandoned plans to impose licensing requirements on the import of IT hardware products, including laptops and tablets. Instead, they will regulate inbound shipments through an import management system, with no immediate restrictions on imports.

After six to eight months, an import authorization mechanism will be introduced, granting quotas to companies importing IT hardware. This decision comes as a relief to global manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Apple, Acer, and ASUS. The government’s move is expected to streamline the import process and promote ease of doing business.

Streamlining Import Regulations

Initially, starting from November 1, companies will only need to register on the import management system, eliminating immediate restrictions on imports. After the initial phase, an import authorization mechanism will be introduced.

This mechanism will allocate quotas based on three parameters: the import value of the previous year or an average of the past three years for IT products, domestic manufacturing of IT hardware devices, and exports of electronics goods.

The government is also contemplating a sunset clause for this system by 2030. A recent meeting between the IT hardware industry and the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, discussed the import management rules. The hardware industry will soon meet with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to finalize the registration process.

An official regarding the matter told ET that:

As of now, firms can import any quantity by doing the registration and the quotas will come into effect later. But the parameters have been defined clearly, so that there is no confusion.

The government’s aim is to fulfill up to 70% of the country’s IT hardware requirement through local production in the next three years and reduce dependence on imports from non-trusted sources.