No Duty Sops for Apple on Imported Gear: Sitharaman
New Delhi: iPhone maker Apple’s demand for custom duty rebate on imported equipment has been turned down. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said “requests regarding such rebate were examined and… not accepted”.
The demand was rejected on grounds that already, zero basic customs duty, excise duty — except on charger, battery and speaker — and special additional duty (SAD) had been prescribed for components and accessories for final manufacture of mobile phones, tablets and computers. Sitharaman said the government has received representations seeking concessions, including 30% local sourcing of component, duty exemption on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment and consumables for smart phone manufacturing, service and repair.
“However, with a view to promote domestic manufacturing capacities and value addition, it has further been provided that this relaxation will be valid for an initial period of three years from the opening of the first store, and thereafter, such entities will be required to meet domestic sourcing norms,” she told Parliament.
The commerce minister also stated that there is no exemption from basic custom duty, countervailing duty and special additional on imports of articles for repair of mobile. Foreign investment up to 100% is permitted for manufacturing mobile phones. Under the automatic route, investment can be made without prior approvals, either of the government or the Reserve Bank of India.
Sitharaman also told the Lok Sabha that all existing exemption from excise to CVD will also be reviewed by the GST Council. From July 1, both locally manufactured and imported mobile phones attract 12% GST. Apple wants to make India a major manufacturing hub after China and Brazil and has started manufacturing through the Karnataka plant set up by Wistron to assemble iPhone SEs.
Demand rejected as zero duty is currently applicable for a majority of components for making mobiles