India to review preferential policy for locally-made electronic goods

NEW DELHI Mon Jul 8, 2013 3:59pm EDT

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will review a policy that gave preference to locally-made electronics goods in government and private sector procurement, the government said on Monday after protests by trade groups representing global companies such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

The federal cabinet last year approved the policy, known as preferential market access (PMA), citing national security.

U.S.-based trade group the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) last week said a plan to include private sector purchases in the policy was inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules and suggested it was designed to protect local manufacturing.

The ITI represents 52 companies, including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), IBM (IBM.N) and Intel Corp (INTC.O).

India has excelled in information technology services but imports the bulk of its electronics requirements.

"Concerns have been raised in many quarters on different aspects of the PMA Policy, particularly policy relating to procurement by the private sector for electronic products with security implications," the Prime Minister's office said in a statement.

The entire policy on providing preference to locally manufactured goods will be "revisited and reviewed" and submitted to the cabinet again, the statement said.

India's electronics demand is expected to reach $400 billion by 2020 and policymakers have said the import bill for the sector could surpass that of oil due to lack of major local manufacturing.

The prime minister's office said on Monday there were no international commitments affecting government procurement, but private sector procurement polices were covered by India's obligations in the WTO.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Ron Popeski)

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