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To discuss FDI rule waiver for Apple with finance ministry, says commerce minister

apple_feWith the Finance Ministry rejecting waiver of mandatory local sourcing for Apple Inc to set up single-brand stores in India, the Commerce Ministry today said it will again push the case of the iPhone maker and a consensus decision should be reached soon.

At the same time, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she is not in favour of Apple’s another proposal to import refurbished phones and sell in India.

She said her ministry has taken a line that the 30 per cent local sourcing requirement can be waived off for high-end technology products.

“Now the Finance Ministry has already taken a different position, we will certainly talk to them… I want more clarity on that… We will talk and make sure that sooner we will come out with some decision,” she told reporters here.

Explaining her position on Apple’s proposal, Sitharaman said, “We are not talking about changing the rule for manufacturing. We are just saying let’s be clear on single-brand retailing.

“… Why do we want to have something which is not going to change in any way the parameter in the market and therefore we want to explain it out to the Finance Ministry.”

She added: “This is the issue on which we have genuine concerns and therefore, within the government, I want a consensus to evolve.”

The Finance Ministry is against relaxing the 30 per cent domestic sourcing norms, as sought by iPhone and iPad maker Apple as a pre-condition to setting up single-brand retail stores in the country.

The US-based giant has sought exemption on the ground that it makes state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology products for which local sourcing is not possible.

On Apple’s proposal to import refurbished phones and sell in India, Sitharaman said, “We would not be in favour of whatever you may call them — used but refashioned, remodelled, updated… used goods. We are not in favour of bringing them here.”

To further encourage start-ups in the country, she said the Commerce Ministry has recommended to the Finance Ministry to raise tax holiday for start-ups from three years to seven years.

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