Mobile prices to go up as government may slap customs duty on imported handsets

Certain exemptions that are currently available to domestic handset makers will have to go after the GST regime comes into force.

Mobile prices to go up as government may slap customs duty on imported handsets
Pic for representational purpose

New Delhi: Even as the government plans to switch the goods and services tax (GST) regime, it may impose customs duty on imported mobile phones thus making them costlier by 5-10 percent, as per a newspaper report.

An Economic Times report said that “An inter-ministerial committee, comprising representatives from the finance, commerce, and telecom and IT ministries, has been set up to examine the issue in detail.”

The ET also added that “certain exemptions that are currently available to domestic handset makers — such as no countervailing duty on imported electronic components — will have to go after the GST regime comes into force. Imposition of customs duty will protect local manufacturers.”

Smartphones are expected to account for 62 percent of all mobile phones sales in the country in 2018, backed by increasing demand for these devices and governments push for digital currency, according to research firm Gartner.

Global vendors like Samsung and Apple have made plans to grow their shares in the market, while major Chinese manufacturers, such as Gionee, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Lenovo, have committed big investments to exploit the growth opportunity, it said.