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GST Council may consider Apple plea for import tax exemption 

Prashnat Mukherjee | New Delhi |

The GST Council is likely to consider the global iPhone maker Apple Inc's proposal seeking tax exemptions if the internal groups set up to examine these exemptions submit their reports before the next Council meeting. 

"Every industry body is raising concerns related to the implementation of GST and its impact. Most of them are seeking exemptions on various parameters, including Apple. We hope to put up their concerns before the next GST Council meeting on May 18-19 in Srinagar," senior Finance Ministry officials said.

Meanwhile Apple, which is planning to set up a manufacturing capacity in India through its contract manufacturer, has been asked to consider the phased programme of the manufacturing sector instead of seeking duty exemption on components required for production in the country.

The GST Council is set to decide on fitment of rates on various goods at its next meeting. A Finance Ministry official said the tax rate on precious metals like gold and silver would be considered only after the exercise for other goods and services is completed. 

However, it has been learnt that Apple has been negotiating hard with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance to reach a consensus over exemption from countervailing duty (CVD) incurred while importing components for making iPhones. In order to boost the manufacturing sector and promote 'Make in India', the government has kept Customs duty out of the GST ambit that will make imported goods more expensive. Earlier, the company’s demand for tax exemption was deferred by the Finance Ministry till the time GST is rolled out.