India Raises Cost of Importing Phone Components by 10% Amid Protectionism Slur

New Delhi (Sputnik): Notwithstanding a raging debate on protectionism in global trade, the Indian government has announced a 10 percent duty on the import of key smartphone components like camera module and printed circuit board assembly in order to boost domestic manufacturing.

Currently, manufacturers import this equipment on zero duty from the global market, especially from China, and assemble the smartphones at their Indian units. Earlier in February, the government hiked the customs duty on mobile phones to 20 percent from 15 percent.

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“Government seeks to withdraw the exemption from basic customs duty (BCD) on printed circuit board assembly, camera module and connectors of cellular mobile phones and impose 10 percent BCD on them,” India’s Ministry of Finance tabled a notification in this regard in the parliament on Monday.

The Narendra Modi-led government also increased the basic import duty on populated, loaded or stuffed printed circuit boards, related to telephones (including mobile phones) from nil to 10 percent.

Earlier, the Indian government announced that the country had replaced Vietnam to become the second largest producer of mobile phones in 2017. 

“India has become the second largest mobile phone manufacturer because of advances in ease of doing business, infrastructure, enhanced competitiveness and phased manufacturing program. We have promoted all stages of the value chain. In 3 years, India has jumped from 3% of global production to 14%,” Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog — the apex policy planning body, said.

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With the rise in mobile phone production, imports of the devices in the country have been reduced to less than half during the financial year 2017-18 that ended on March 31.


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