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MacBooks, other laptops may become costlier as Government bans import with immediate effect


The government on Thursday banned the import of laptops, tablets, and computers with immediate effect, putting a big question mark on the prices of almost all computers sold in India.

It should be noted before you read further that almost all computers and laptops sold in India, including Apple’s MacBooks and Mac Mini, are imported from abroad.

The same rules also apply to companies like Lenovo, HP, Asus, Acer, Samsung, and others that too sell laptops and personal computers in India after importing them from abroad.

It applies to Lenovo, HP, Samsung, Acer, and Asus, as most of these computers come from either manufactured or assembled in China and Korea.

But why has the government restricted imports, one might ask? The answer, as per reports, is national security as well as giving an impetus to local manufacturers to make in India.

As per a report by The Indian Express, the ban may be aimed at China since more than 75 per cent of India’s $ 5.33 billion imports of laptops and personal computers in 2022-23 came from the neighboring country.

As per the notification, importers of these items will now have to seek a license from the government for their inbound shipments.

A trader, who is a regular importer, can apply for a license from August 4.

As per the notification, the import restriction also applies to microcomputers, large or mainframe computers, and certain data processing machines. These items will be allowed only against a valid license.

However, there is some relief for those who are not buying laptops for business.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notification, however, said certain exemptions have been given against these curbs.

The restrictions are not applicable under baggage rules, which means a person can carry one old and one new laptop in baggage while coming from abroad.

The ban will also not apply to importing one laptop, tablet, all-in-one personal computer, or ultra-small form factor computer including those purchased from e-commerce portals through post or courier. The buyer won’t need to get a license for such a purchase.

The guidelines also allow for an import without license of up to 20 items per consignment for R&D, testing, benchmarking and evaluation, repair and re-export, and product development purposes.

It said that such imports will be only for use for the stated purposes and not for sale.

“Further, after the intended purpose, the products would either be destroyed beyond use or re-exported,” the notification said.

One will also not need a license for the repair and return of re-import of goods repaired abroad.