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Apple doesn’t want to print product information on devices, requests Indian government to relax labeling laws: Report

Indian packaging standards require product information including manufacturing details printed on the commodity.

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Apple takes pride in the design language of its products and any distraction is a plain distraction; even if that means government mandated printing of product information. As the Cupertino, California-based company aims to set up its manufacturing unit in India, it has raised a number of requests to the government seeking various concessions. One of the recent requests made by the company seeks relaxation of the labeling laws so that the aesthetic value of Apple products is not depleted when it reaches consumers.

As per the Indian packaging standards, all pre-packaged commodities imported to India must carry information including the name and address of the importer, generic or common name of the commodity packed, month and year of packaging in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported, and the maximum retail sales price (MRP) in English or Hindi language. As of now, all Apple products sold in India carry details including model number, IMEI number, designing and manufacturing details printed on the real panel.

Now, Apple wants the government to relax this rule so that it doesn’t have to print the product-related information directly on the device and instead provide the information through the software or on the outer packaging. Apple has declined to comment on the report.

Apple is already looking to expand its presence in India by venturing into local manufacturing and setting up its own single-branded retail stores. However, given the country’s stringent regulations, the company is seeking concessions to have a better start in the nation where iPhone sales have seen a rise despite a global slowdown. ALSO READ: Apple seeks incentives to set up manufacturing unit in India

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has forwarded Apple’s request to the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY) seeking relaxation in the labeling rules. The department will now be considering the request made by Apple, an Economic Times report notes.

Along with relaxation in labeling laws, the company has also reportedly sought tax incentives for local manufacturing. In the coming week, government officials are expected to evaluate the request. As part of the ‘Make in India’ campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is offering subsidies for investments in special economic zones and allows tax-free imports of some components needed to build mobile handsets.

A report on the Wall Street Journal quoted a government official saying, “The government will have to see if it can tweak its rules for one company, though we want it to produce in India.” With Apple’s keen interest towards local manufacturing in India, it will be interesting how much the government is ready to loosen its laws to let one of the biggest tech companies to add to the country’s economy. Earlier, the finance ministry rejected Apple’s proposal to set up wholly owned outlets in the country that sought exemption from the compulsory 30 percent local sourcing norm.

Recently, Apple’s proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in India too faced rejection from the government. The company currently sells used iPhones at a discount in some countries, including the US. Selling refurbished and affordable smartphones in India would have helped the company increase its share in India where it has only 2 percent market share. According to analysts, to penetrate further into the mobile market in India where the average price of the smartphone is less than $150, Apple will be required to have a better retail presence and make affordable versions of the iPhones. ALSO READ: Apple’s proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in India rejected

  • Published Date: December 29, 2016 12:45 PM IST
  • Updated Date: December 29, 2016 3:11 PM IST