India is considering restricting imports of refrigerators to promote local manufacturing, two industry sources told Reuters on Thursday, potentially freezing out shipments from Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc in the $5 billion market, Reuters said.
The sources, who declined to be named as the talks were private, said the government was considering mandating that importers seek a license from the authorities, replacing the existing free-import regime. That could be followed by a ban on imports of refrigerators with refrigerant already added, to create opportunities for value-added operations in India, said one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of the government's discussions.
The source said a decision could come within a month, adding: "The thrust is to support all those who are manufacturing in India rather than those bringing them into India."
The Indian trade ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Spokespeople for Samsung and LG also did not respond immediately, Reuters said.
(With inputs from Reuters)