Ban on duty-free flat screens effective as India sales of LED TVs soar
The country's top four television makers - Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic- are making windfall gains from the government's ban on duty-free import of flat screen televisions by air travelers.<br /><br />
The country's top four television makers - Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic- are making windfall gains due to the government's ban on duty-free import of flat screen televisions by air travellers.
According to a report in The Economic Times, these companies are now running their production capacity at full tilt against their earlier 60-70%, and are even contemplating fresh investments to boost capacity.
The Centre imposed a 36% duty from August 26 on import of television sets as passenger baggage and by grey marketers who would bring multiple sets as part of their baggage.
Government officials estimated that more than 1 million television sets were brought into the country last year - many from Dubai, Thailand and Singapore - under a scheme that allowed airline passengers to bring in screens worth up to Rs 35,000 as part of their baggage allowance.
The price arbitrage had turned into a lucrative business proposition with several carriers taking flights to South East Asia and making a killing in the domestic market. A 32-inch TV set in Thailand costs around Rs 17,000 to Rs 18,000 and in India it ranges between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000. According to the ET report,passenger and grey imports used to account for nearly 20% of India's total flat panel television market, of 8 million sets per annum.
However, the duty has given an impetus to the domestic industry which were earlier lobbying with the government to either ban or impose duties on baggage import of television sets since it was completely ruining their sales and disturbing market dynamics.
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