Nirmala Sitharaman's comments came days after the finance ministry asked the iPhone maker to meet rules that mandate foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wished to open stores in the country.
Niramala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry on Monday said that the government is not in favour of used or remodelled goods being sold in India, as proposed by Apple. The response comes in wake of latter proposing to sell refurbished iPhones in the country.
The minister also said that she was in talks with the finance ministry on Apple Inc’s foreign direct investment proposal that seeks a waiver from the country’s local sourcing rules.
The move comes after the finance ministry asked Apple to meet rules that mandate foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wished to open stores in the country.
A panel set up by Sitharaman’s ministry had favoured waiving the sourcing requirement for Apple.
But a government official, with direct knowledge of the FIPB decision, said Apple’s request was turned down as it failed to provide any material “on record” to back it.
“We took a line that we wouldn’t mind waiving off the local sourcing norm for Apple’s high-end products, The Finance Ministry has taken a different line. We will talk to them.” said Sitharaman.
Explaining her position on Apple’s proposal, she 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.”
Apple hopes to expand its retail presence in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, at a time when sales in the United States and China have slowed.
India last year exempted foreign retailers selling “state of the art” or “cutting edge technology” from the sourcing rule, which states that 30 percent of the value of goods sold in a shop should be made in India.
Tim Cook’s recent visit to India was supposed to set the stage for the US-based company’s expansion in India.