Government officials in India have signaled they won’t be providing Apple with its desired 15-year exemption on duties typically charged to electronics manufacturers in the country, but they are open to relaxing the regulations on the industry as a whole to boost the “Make in India” campaign, The Economic Times reports. After being denied an exemption to India’s requirement that at least 30 percent of the materials in devices it sells in the country be sourced locally, Apple reportedly asked for a full exemption on the 12.5 percent duty that India charges manufacturers on imported raw materials, equipment and components in order to save on setting up local manufacturing facilities.
While officials have balked at giving Apple special treatment, they are admitting that India will have to make some changes to the current system to secure Apple’s investment. “Our import duty is high,” one official admitted, in reference to the country’s 12 percent tax on imported smartphones. “As long as they are getting into exports, our objective should be to give them lowest duty so as to ensure that their product is competitive.” At least 42 other companies build mobile phones in India, and people with knowledge of the matter said none have ever asked for the incentives Apple is demanding. But another official said delivering on Apple’s request will mean making a change for the entire sector, since “normally, similar dispensation has to be given to others similarly placed.”