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India to hike import tariffs on electronic items, communication devices

India will increase import tariffs on several electronic and communication devices beginning Oct. 12, in a bid to limit imports and halt a slide in the Indian rupee, Reuters reported.

While details of the tariff hike were unclear, the Indian government cited items that could be impacted such as smart watches, Voice over Internet Protocol equipment and phones, and ethernet switches.

The increased tariffs could worsen India's trade tensions with countries such as the U.S. and China. It could also negatively impact on network equipment makers such as Cisco Systems Inc., Ericsson, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., as well as local carriers such as Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. that use fiber optic and LTE network equipment in high-speed broadband rollouts.

The tariff hike, however, could be a plus for local telecom equipment manufacturers such as Tata Teleservices Ltd., according to the report.

The plan is the latest of such protectionist moves under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which promotes the Make in India program. In September, the country raised import tariffs on products such as air conditioners, refrigerators and speakers, among other items.

Earlier in April, India's Central Bureau of Excise and Customs imposed a 10% duty on imports of key smartphone components, including populated printed circuit boards, camera modules and connectors.