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Import Duty Waiver On Open Cell TV Panels May Be Extended

The government is considering extension of zero duty import of ready-to-use open cell television panels beyond September after leading manufacturers like Samsung and LG reached out to the ministry saying the current norm is an anomaly which would hurt Indian manufacturing.

Open cell panel is the most important component used in TV manufacturing accounting for 65-70% of its production cost. At present, there are no panel manufacturers in India.

The ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) last September issued a notification saying that from October 2020, ready-to-use open cell TV panel will attract duties while raw open cells, which require further assembling, can be imported at nil duty.

The industry has argued that no open cell manufacturer is ready to sell raw open cells panels and there is minimal value addition and employment generation to make it ready-to-use, two senior industry executives said.

Companies like Samsung, which has just restarted television production in India and wants to scale up till models of about 50-55-inches, may once again move production out from India unless the nil import duty on readyto-use panels is extended, the executives said.

Home grown contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies chairman Sunil Vachani said if nil duty on ready-to-use open cell TV panel is not extended after September, companies may once again relook at their ‘Make in India’ investment.

“In that case, duty free import of ready-made televisions sets through free trade agreement countries may once again become economical,” he said.

Companies like Samsung shut their India production in 2018 after the government imposed 5% import duty on open cell panels and instead started FTA imports from Vietnam.

The government withdrew the duty last September, but also notified different duties on raw-and-ready to use panels from October 2020. A technical process of bonding and polariser film is attached on raw open cell TV panels to produce the bonded or ready-to-use open cell panels.―Business Telegraph

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