65-70% of a TV’s Production Value
Most items imported under free trade agreements are not charged duty.
The electronics ministry has already consulted twice with senior officials of Samsung and LG and with officials of the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) to understand the issues.
“Every area that encourages domestic manufacturing is an area of focus. We have received representations from the industry and company officials to reduce duty on open cell TV panels to 0%. It is under serious consideration and a decision is likely soon,” the ministry official said, requesting anonymity. However, an LG India spokesperson said the company believes in ‘Make in India’ and will continue local production. “Every year, we continuously invest to strengthen our manufacturing facilities and will continue doing the same in future. In fact, we are manufacturing our entire line-up of TVs, including premium range, in India,” the spokesperson said.
Emails to Samsung India remained unanswered till Monday press time.
Imports from Asean surged last year after Samsung started bringing TVs in from Vietnam. The volume of TV sets from Vietnam surged from 16,000 units in 2017-18 to over 600,000 units in the April-October period of 2018-19 alone, according to data collated by CEAMA from the ministry of commerce and industry. Imports from other countries were lower in the same period. The government first imposed 10% import duty on open cell TV panels in the February 2018 budget and reduced it to 5% in March after the industry said it would affect investment. Open cell panels – which require some assembling and value-addition before being ready – account for 65-70% of a television’s production value.
Contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies chairman Sunil Vachani said there are no open cell panel manufacturing plants in India and setting up one of these hi-tech facilities will take about four years.