US trade chief flags concerns over India’s license rule for laptop imports

In this April 28, 2021, file photo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai testifies during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Tai was in India to join the G20 trade ministers’ meeting last week in the western state of Rajasthan

U.S. trade chief Katherine Tai has raised concerns with India over the Asian nation’s new order mandating licenses for the import of laptops, tablets and personal computers, according to a statement.

Tai’s intervention comes amid worries the licensing regime could impact shipments from the likes of Apple and Dell and force firms to boost local manufacturing.

“She noted that there were stakeholders that needed an opportunity to review and provide input to ensure that the policy, if implemented, does not have an adverse impact on U.S. exports to India,” as per the U.S. statement issued after Tai met with India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal on August 26.

Tai was in India to join the G20 trade ministers’ meeting last week in the western state of Rajasthan.

India’s new licensing regime, which is due to come into effect on November 1, aims to “ensure trusted hardware and systems” enter the nation. It also seeks to reduce dependence on imports, boost local manufacturing, and in part address the country’s trade imbalance with China, according to an Indian government official.

India and the U.S. will also continue discussions to find a solution to the only bilateral dispute between the two nations at the World Trade Organisation, which involves measures by New Delhi on certain agricultural imports into the country, according to the statement. Six other disputes were mutually resolved earlier this year.

First Published: Aug 27 2023 | 7:34 PM IST

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