Govt keen on Apple setting up units in India, but seeks concrete proposal

Govt keen on Apple setting up units in India, but seeks concrete proposal

Govt keen on Apple setting up units in India, but seeks concrete proposal

The government is keen to partner with US-based iPhone-maker Apple, which wishes to set up production units in India, but has sought certain concessions on which there is little agreement.

"We are waiting for a good proposal from Apple. Please give us a concrete proposal and we will examine. We are keen to be partners with Apple," Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu told reporters to a pointed question.

The proposal from Apple was discussed during a recent meeting Apple Inc officials had with the minister. The government had sought investment and job creation details from the company to facilitate setting up its manufacturing facility in India.

Apple had in the past sought certain concessions, which the government said were "exceptional" and could not be granted to a particular company.

It sought duty exemptions on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment and consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service/repair for 15 years. Besides, it demanded relaxation in mandatory 30% local sourcing. Apple also pleaded with the government that it had cutting-edge technology, and hence, it should be given relaxation. The company enjoys similar relations in China.

Apple has been eyeing India, the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, ever since its sales have dipped in the US and China.

But the government has been reluctant in giving the company favours, which other smartphone-makers do not enjoy on Indian soil.

On the country's dwindling exports, Prabhu said that his ministry was mooting the idea of incentivising states to do better in overseas trade.

"We have decided to make the district as the unit for exports rather than the state. We are in the process of preparing a strategy whereby 40% of our GDP should come from global trade and half of that from exports," Prabhu told reporters, after meeting state representatives here at the Council for Trade Development Promotion.

The Commerce Ministry has asked districts to appoint nodal officers to oversee trade. Besides, the states have been asked to prepare their individual policies to increase the level of India's foreign trade.

He said 14 states, including Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Telangana have already prepared policies, while Delhi, Goa and Sikkim are in the process.

The minister said that the ministry is also planning to have a separate ministry for logistics in order to reduce time and cost for foreign trade.

"We're working at making logistics a separate subject that could be handled independently by a ministry," he said.

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