Electronics manufacturers seek ban on television imports from Vietnam

tv-agencies.j1NEW DELHI: The electronics manufacturing industry has asked the government to immediately ban imports of televisions from Vietnam, which saw a 25-times jump to Rs 1,500 crore within the last one year, and called for changes in the import duty structure.

In similar letters dated June 11 to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce minister Piyush Goyal and communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) said the government was losing close to Rs 1,000 crore in GST alone, owing to the current basic customs duty (BCD) regime, which was encouraging a grey market for colour televisions.

“Televisions manufacturing in India is under grave threat. There is a huge and sudden rise in imports from Vietnam,” ICEA chairman Pankaj Mohindroo wrote in the letters.

The industry association has sought a time-bound three-month investigation by an inter-ministerial panel on imports from Vietnam — with which India has a free-trade agreement — in relation to price, quantity, value and special reference to rules of origin. The industry body has flagged that Korean major Samsung’s shifting production of colour TVs to Vietnam was a “blow” to the industry with a job loss of close to 10,000, directly and indirectly.

The government doubled customs duty on imported LCD and LED TV panels to 15% from 7.5% in the 2018 Union budget. While the duty on ‘open cells’ used in the manufacture of LCD and LED televisions was hiked to 10%, it was halved after the industry immediately sought a roll-back since it wasn’t ready to manufacture the component. The government’s full Budget is on July 5.

Open cells are among the most critical parts in a TV panel and account for 65-70% of a set’s production value. However, the biggest fallout of this duty was Samsung shutting down production of TVs in India and shifting out to Vietnam, with which India has an FTA. While the government has been mulling the complete rollback of duty on open cell, it is yet to make a move on the matter.


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