India put a ban on Air Conditioner import from China and Thailand

The government on Thursday banned the import of air conditioners in its latest bid to boost domestic production by checking the entry of “non-essential” goods into the country.

Most of the air-conditioners imported into India come with refrigerants filled in it. India imported split air-conditioners worth $469 million in FY20 with $241 million from China and $189 million from Thailand.

It imported window air-conditioners worth $35 million with $18 million from Thailand and $14 million from China during the same period.

ACs have been identified as potential items for focus on domestic manufacturing as components are imported in large quantities. The domestic market is said to be worth $5-6 billion with a large chunk of ACs being imported into the country.

Separately, depending on the segment, 85-100% of the components, where the market is estimated to be around $2 billion, are imported.

Non-essential electronic goods have been under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry since the government decided to push for self-reliance in various sectors this year. Air conditioners, specifically, have been singled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an example of a segment where self-reliance was required.

“We import more than 30 per cent of our demand for air conditioners. We have to reduce it fast,” he said in June while discussing the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

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