The government of India has said ‘no’ to Apple’s request to import used iPhones into the country, LiveMint reported today. The move comes hot on the heels of the finance ministry’s decision to rejecte a recommendation from the commerce ministry to waive the 30 percent local sourcing norm for Apple to sell refurbished iPhones in its own branded stores in India.
“We are not in favour of any company selling used phones in the company, however certified they may be,” said commerce and industry minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
This is an odd decision on part of the India government considering Tim Cook last week embarked on an almost weeklong tour of the country. Cook was treated like a rock star by local media and he met with Prime Minister Modi.
Speaking to NDTV 24X7, Cook rejected the notion that Apple wanted to dump its used products in India, this is what he said:
First of all, we would never ‘dump’ anything, this in virtually all countries in the world we have a process by which a phone that’s been used by the first owner or is taken back and made to be new, if you will, and a warranty is placed on that, just like a warranty for a new phone. And it’s sold for a more affordable price and that happens in several countries.
What we want to do is do the act of bringing it back to this pristine level, we want to do that in India for the Indian market. We may have to bring in some phones from other markets in order to fuel the supply chain if you will. But the act of bringing them to pristine conditions, we want to do that in this country.
Because the finance ministry has taken a tough position on Apple, the commerce and industry minister will “examine the matter.”
All is not lost for Apple, however.
The company could simply partner up with local resellers who carry local goods and have them sell used iPhones in the country, just like it’s been selling new iPhones through third-party Indian resellers thus far.