Apple shows the way for electronics exports - Hindustan Times
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Apple shows the way for electronics exports

ByHT Editorial
Apr 15, 2024 09:09 PM IST

A balanced approach towards tariffs may well allow India to become an electronics export powerhouse without having to sacrifice its manufacturing ambitions.

At $10 billion in FY24, exports of India-assembled iPhones have doubled from the previous fiscal. What makes the showing even more impressive is that Apple had estimated meeting this target under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme only by FY25. Apart from the export boost, there have been significant employment gains; Apple is projected to have created 450,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. While India-made iPhones are still a small fraction compared to China-made ones, the gathering pace of production in India is encouraging.

Apple iPhones are seen inside India's first Apple retail store during a media preview, a day ahead of its launch in Mumbai, India.(Reuters) PREMIUM
Apple iPhones are seen inside India's first Apple retail store during a media preview, a day ahead of its launch in Mumbai, India.(Reuters)

Now, Apple's success needs to be replicated for other consumer electronic goods. While the iPhone instance is evidence of policies such as the PLI for smartphones working, India must do more to convince the world that it has the makings of a preferred China+1 destination for electronics exports. It has lagged in taking advantage of the de-risking of global value chains away from almost exclusive reliance on China.

At present, the world may seem more inclined towards Vietnam or Malaysia, which offer stable, low-tariff regimes; this allows marquee manufacturers to import components and assemble them for export. India, of course, aims to have more local production, and therefore, has maintained a tighter tariff regime. But New Delhi’s January decision to lower tariffs for high-end smartphone parts and the new electric vehicle policy that allows for tariff reduction for specific imports in exchange for local production above a certain investment floor show that policymakers are not averse to providing such impetus. A balanced approach towards tariffs may well allow India to become an electronics export powerhouse without having to sacrifice its local manufacturing ambitions.

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