NEW DELHI: The government on Monday said it was discussing Apple Inc’s foreign direct investment (FDI) application that seeks a waiver from 30% mandatory local sourcing norm, but rejected the company’s plans to sell refurbished phones in the country.
Stating that her department is in talks with the finance ministry to reconsider Apple’s proposal, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “We took a line that we wouldn’t mind waiving off the local sourcing norm for Apple’s high-end products. (The) finance ministry has taken a different line. We will talk to them.”
“We are not talking about changing the rule for manufacturing. We are just saying let’s be clear on single-brand retailing... Why do we want to have something which is not going to change in any way the parameter in the market, and therefore we want to explain it out to the finance ministry.”
“This is the issue on which we have genuine concerns and therefore, within the government, I want a consensus to evolve,” she added.
The move comes days after the Foreign Investment and Promotion Board — the nodal agency for clearing investment proposals by overseas companies — cleared Apple’s plans to set up retail outlets in the country, but said the iPhone maker must comply with 30% local sourcing rules.
The government can relax mandatory local sourcing norms for companies, which undertake single-brand retailing of products and have state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology, and where local sourcing is not possible.
On the sale of refurbished phones, Sitharaman said: “We would not be in favour of whatever you may call them — used but refashioned, remodelled, updated... used goods. We are not in favour of bringing them here.”
She also said that the commerce ministry is in talks with the North Block to extend tax holiday for startups to seven years from the current three.