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This article was published on February 1, 2021


India’s new customs duties will make your next phone pricier

India’s new customs duties will make your next phone pricier
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

If you’re waiting to buy a phone in India this year, you might find prices in the market a tad steeper than before. The country has increased customs duty on importing certain parts to encourage local manufacturing.

Presenting the annual budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharman said today that the country is introducing import duty on few mobile parts in order to boost local manufacturing.

Domestic electronic manufacturing has grown rapidly. We are now exporting items like mobiles and chargers. For greater domestic value addition, we are withdrawing a few exemptions on parts of chargers and sub-parts of mobiles. Further, some parts of mobiles will move from ‘nil’ rate to a moderate 2.5%.

Manufacturers will have to pay a 2.5% customs duty for importing parts, including camera modules, printed circuit boards, and connectors, starting from April. Plus, there is an increased tax on importing parts of chargers.

import duties on mobile parts

Apple and Samsung have already booted out the adapter from retail packs of their phones. As IDC analyst Navkendar Singh noted, this duty hike might incentivize others to take similar steps.

These duties might introduce a slight price hike in the retail prices of phones. Prachir Singh, an analyst at Counterpoint, said “This might increase in prices for short term or a very modest increase as the bulk of these sub-components have already local suppliers like for camera modules, PCBAs, chargers, and connectors.”

India is pushing local manufacturing through schemes under its Make In India program. Last year, it approved applications from iPhone-makers and Samsung to grant 4-6% tax benefits to produce phones above ₹15,000 ($205)

In her budget speech today, Sitharaman said the country will invest ₹1.97 lakh crores ($26.98 billion) over five years in a Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) to boost manufacturing.

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