Apple has confirmed it has had a “constructive” meeting with the Indian government over plans to open a local manufacturing facility.
Its statement comes less than a week after the company issued a list of demands that included lengthy tax breaks and a waiver on customs duties.
“We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India,” Apple said in a brief statement issued to Reuters. “We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.”
Apple is keen to build an iPhone assembly facility in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, which could allow it to sell its popular smartphone at a more affordable price locally. Right now, the device is just too expensive for the vast majority of customers.
However, Apple will only do that if India is willing to relax some of its strict rules for local businesses — one of which states that at least 30 percent of all components used must be sourced from other Indian companies.
India will relax this rule for three years for new businesses just setting up shop in the country, however, that’s not enough for Apple. The company has also requested a waiver on customs duties for new and used equipment, and full exemption from duties on raw materials.
Apple also wants a 15-year tax holiday on imports of components and equipment, and it wants India to relax its rules on product labelling. However, sources have said that Apple won’t push to secure every single one of these demands.
Experts have been skeptical that India will meet Apple halfway, but the country does seem keen to secure Apple’s business. Last week, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refused to rule out manufacturing incentives for the Cupertino company.