Business & Finance

Curbs on Imports of Laptops and Allied Devices - What to Know

Love importing laptops, tablets, computers, mobiles, or allied devices! You can’t do it now as the Indian government has put an immediate restriction on imports of laptops and allied devices. Read more to know in detail.

The DGFT or Directorate General of Foreign Trade issued a notice on Thursday, 3 August 2023. As per the notice, there is an immediate ban on imports of specific laptops, personal computers, tablets, and allied devices. From now on, the import of these electronic devices is only possible with a valid license. It means there will be a decrease in imports of laptops and allied devices. As per experts, this restriction will highly affect the interests of big brands like Apple, Dell, and Samsung and force them to increase their local productions.

In a notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, there is an exemption in this import licensing. 20 items per consignment for testing, R&D, benchmarking, repair & return, evaluation, and product development process  are out of this immediate ban.

The notice of the DGFT said, “Import of Laptops, Tablets, All-in-one Personal Computers, and Ultra small form factor computers and services falling under HSN 8741 shall be Restricted and their import would be allowed against a valid License for Restricted Imports.” To import the products under restrictions, an individual or business entity needs permission from the Government of India. Further, the notification stated, “The restrictions will also be on micro computers, large or mainframe computers, and certain data processing machines.” 


The notice also said, “Exemption from import licensing requirements is provided for import of 1 laptop, tablet, all in one personal computer, or ultra small form factor computer, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier. Imports shall be subject to payment of duty as applicable.”

An inside official revealed to the Business Line, “The idea behind the import restrictions (on items falling under HSN 8741) is not to bar imports but to regulate it to ensure that items which come into the country are compliant with India’s security concerns and don’t expose consumers to any risks.” Further, he said, “These are not in violation of WTO norms as the multilateral body allows members to put in place policies that address their security concerns”.

Another source stated, “Keeping in view that some of the imported hardware could potentially have security related issues and compromise sensitive and personal data of users, it is important to source them from trusted and reliable partners. The safety of Indian citizens is the topmost priority”. To give the right value to the security and privacy of Indian citizens, the government has banned more than 200 Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat in recent years. 

A Hit on China

The restrictions on imports of laptops are allied devices brought on Thursday are not for electronic products from a particular country. However, the current imposed ban would highly affect China as the country has an import of such items valued at more than 7 billion US dollars. 

Experts see this move as a boost to local manufacturers and investors. An inside source stated, “A lot of MNCs have also set up manufacturing bases in India in the IT and electronics sector. We hope that our domestic manufacturing is also able to cater to needs.” According to that source, there would be no impact on import orders if the orders and bills have been issued before 3 August 2023. The concerned person or business entity can import those items by 31 August 2023 without a valid license. 

An official from the foreign trade department said, “The import licensing portal is active. A few more columns may be required specifically for IT hardware which will be done in a day or two.” The restrictions are not applicable under international baggage rules that allow people carrying a laptop in their bags.    

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