Apple and Other US Goods Shipped From China Face Customs Hurdle

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Apple, Cisco and Dell products are among the goods from U.S. companies being caught up in India’s border tensions with China, as Indian ports hold up imports from China, two sources told Reuters on Wednesday. Though no government notice has been issued, customs officers at major Indian port have held back containers coming from China, seeking additional clearances, government and industry sources have said.

The move comes amid heightened tensions between India and China after border clashes last week that saw at least 20 Indian soldiers killed. The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), a lobby group representing U.S. firms, told India’s commerce ministry in a letter dated June 23 that lack of clarity and delays could disrupt business and manufacturing operations.

“Authorities have abruptly halted the clearance of industry consignments coming in from China (and perhaps other destinations) at most major ports and airports,” USISPF said in the letter, seen by Reuters. “This will send a chilling signal to foreign investors who look for predictability and transparency,” it said. The commerce ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Two industry sources said Apple, Cisco, Dell and Ford Motor Co products were among those held up. Electronics components of Taiwan’s Foxconn, a contract manufacturer for Apple in India, were also affected, a third source said. It was not immediately clear which ports were holding back the goods. Apple, Cisco and Foxconn did not respond to requests for comment. A Dell spokeswoman declined to comment, while Ford said a consignment of auto parts was held up at a port in Chennai and the company was providing information sought by the authorities.

The delays come as India is restarting factory operations after a nationwide lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian electronics and mobile industry group ICEA said its members had been told Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi Airports would have a new examination procedure for all consignments coming from China. Normally, goods for regular importers are cleared automatically, ICEA said in a letter to the finance ministry.