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NEW DELHI: The Indian government is likely to decide “soon” on an industry proposal to delay a plan to require import licences for laptops and tablets by three to six months, a senior government source said.

India has imposed a licensing requirement for imports of laptops, tablets and personal computers from Aug 3 in a surprise move. These products previously did not need import licences.

The move was aimed at addressing the trade imbalance with China, another government official, who did not want to be named, told reporters.

“Industry has sought a 3-6 month transition period …. We are examining the suggestions made by the industry and may soon issue an additional notice with clarifications if needed,” the first government source, who also did not want to be named, told Reuters.

The government in its notification on Thursday gave no reason for the action, which could affect technology companies such as Apple, Dell and Samsung and potentially see them boost local manufacturing.

India mandates licensing for laptop, tablet imports in blow to Apple, Dell

Deputy IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday said on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that “it is the government’s objective to ensure trusted hardware and systems” and reduce dependence on imports.

The new rule will ensure India’s tech eco-system uses only imports that are “trusted and verified systems,” Chandrasekhar added.

India’s trade ministry did not immediately reply to request for comment.

India’s Electronics and IT ministry said New Delhi will issue licences for companies to import laptops and tablets within two days. Licences can be obtained online.

India will allow imports of laptop and tablets without licences where the shipment has been ordered before Aug 3 and the customs has been ordered to clear such consignments.

“Some consignments are held up at one or two ports and we have asked customs to clear them,” the first government official said.

For licensing requests companies will have to provide information on consignment origin, number of pieces and past import history.

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