China and Japan raise concern over Indian restrictions on imported PCs and notebooks

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

China and Japan have questioned India's import license requirements, highlighting renewed concerns from WTO members against India's unilateral trade measures.

At a meeting of the Import Licensing Committee on May 21, WTO members discussed ways to enhance the transparency of import licensing regimes. The committee's chair, Nat Tharnpanich of Thailand, stressed the importance of adhering to import licensing notification requirements and urged members to use the newly launched Import Licensing Notification Portal.

During the meeting, specific trade concerns were raised, including India's import management system on PCs, tablets, and other electronic products, which China and Japan raised.

The stands of China and Japan followed similar actions from the US. In March, Reuters reported, based on US government emails, that US officials were frustrated by India's sudden import restriction policy on PCs and notebooks announced in August 2023, describing it as problematic for the business climate, as it was implemented without prior notice or consultation.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on August 26, 2023, to express the US's desire to rescind the requirement. By November 2023, India reversed its stance, stating it would only monitor imports and decide on further actions in November 2024.

An unnamed senior government official told The Indian Express that concerns raised by other countries about India's PC and notebook import policies are unfounded, as there are no restrictions on these imports. He emphasized that the WTO is not addressing more significant global trade issues, such as the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

India's import restriction policy aims to reduce dependency on China, which supplies the majority of India's imported PCs, notebooks, and tablets. The policy is also part of a broader strategy to develop India's IT hardware supply chain, supported by a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. Besides China, Japan, the US, South Korea, and Taiwan have also raised concerns about this policy at the WTO, as reported by the Economic Times.