India Raises Tariffs on Electronics to Curb Imports

Corrected
  • Customs duty raised on mobile phones, TV sets, digital cameras
  • Move may help contain widening current-account deficit

India increased the customs duty on some electronics including mobile phones, television sets, and microwave ovens in a bid to curb imports and boost local manufacturing.

The levy on mobiles and TVs was raised from 10 percent to 15 percent, according to a Ministry of Finance statement. Duty on digital cameras, video cameras and projectors was doubled to 20 percent.

India’s electronics imports grew about 31 percent to $29.8 billion during April to October from a year earlier, the steepest increase after shipments of ores and gems. While the latter feed into reexports, mobile phones and TVs are for domestic consumption and account for 12 percent of total imports, contributing to a widening current account deficit.

Moving production of similar goods to domestic factories would also boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ push and help contain India’s trade shortfall with China. The gap was about $49 billion last year, by far India’s biggest bilateral deficit.

(Corrects increase in levy on mobiles in second paragraph.)
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