The Indian government has officially refused Apple’s proposal to import used iPhones into the country, LiveMint reported today. In a press conference, Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce and industry minister, said that the government is not in favor of any company selling used phones in the country, irrespective of their certification.
On Apple’s proposal to import refurbished phones and sell in India, Sitharaman said, “We would not be in favour of whatever you may call them — used but refashioned, remodelled, updated… used goods. We are not in favour of bringing them here.”
During his visit to India earlier this month, Tim Cook had expressed his great interest in selling refurbished iPhones in India, as it would allow Apple to be more price competitive in the price sensitive Indian smartphone market. The CEO had also gone to great lengths to explain how a refurbished iPhone is not a second hand iPhone and that it comes with its own warranty.
The decision comes just days after the Indian government decided not to exempt Apple from a local rule requiring that 30 percent of goods sold by foreign companies be manufactured or produced within the country. India last year exempted retailers selling state-of-the-art goods from the rule, prompting Apple to file a new application in hopes of opening single-branded retail stores in India.
It was initially believed that Apple would be allowed to set up its own stores in the country as the DIPF was on the verge of giving the company the necessary approval, but the finance ministry decided to intervene at the last moment and change the decision. A discussion between the company and the Indian government on this matter is still pending, which will finally decide whether Apple’s direct stores are coming to India or not.