Indian site LiveMint is reporting that the Indian government has formally rejected Apple’s request to sell refurbished iPhones in the country as a way to make them more affordable to local consumers.
A newly-formed lobbying group opposed the plan, with Bloomberg reporting earlier this month that the government was expected to rule against Apple. This now seems to have been confirmed, despite Tim Cook making the case for the exception during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Modi …
India applies high import duties on used goods in order to encourage local manufacturing. The standard levy is an eye-watering 300% of the value, effectively rendering imports uneconomic. The finance ministry has said that it doesn’t want foreign companies ‘dumping’ used products in India, a charge Cook denied in a NDTV 24X7 interview.
First of all, we would never ‘dump’ anything […] In virtually all countries in the world we have a process by which a phone that’s been used by the first owner is taken back and made to be new, if you will, and a warranty is placed on that, just like a warranty for a new phone. And it’s sold for a more affordable price […] We may have to bring in some phones from other markets in order to fuel the supply chain, if you will. But the act of bringing them to pristine condition, we want to do that in this country.
Apple is also seeking a temporary exemption from the rule that says companies must source at least 30% of its materials locally in order to open branded retail stores. While Foxconn is planning to build a $10B iPhone assembly plant in the country, this is likely to take around 18 months to come online.
No decision has yet been announced, with conflicting reports suggesting first that the exemption was likely to be permitted and later that it was set to be rejected. Apple currently sells its products in India through third-party resellers.