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Apple's negotiations with India continue, government officials reluctant to give more tax breaks

More information regarding Apple's possible entry into India's manufacturing and retail markets has emerged, with government officials making statements before a full ruling suggesting Apple would not receive any special tax incentives to do business in the country that wouldn't also apply to other companies.




According to Reuters, the Indian government's assessment of Apple's tax incentive demands is nearly complete, and officials are saying that the government may not make exceptions to already-standing rules for the company. Additionally, any benefits that may be granted would be applied unilaterally, and not just to Apple.

Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said if India were to agree to any concessions, they would most likely apply to every smartphone manufacturer doing business in the country, and not just Apple.

India already offers subsidies for electronics manufacterers doing business in the country. A system of tax incentives encourages investments in special economic zones as well. Specific requests by Apple beyond more tax benefits, and lower import and manufacturing duties are not known at this time.

Should Apple extend its retail presence to India, at the end of three years Apple must source 30% of its products that it sells from manufacturers inside the country.

Apple manufacturer Wistron is already in India, and is reportedly building a plant in the Peenya area of Bangalore that will start construction in April. The new plant may be utilized to produce a new iPhone model.

A new report regarding Wistron's expansion seems to reinforce a previous one, claiming that the manufacturer has claimed some future orders for the next-generation iPhone.

Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn has facilities in the country, but they are not currently building Apple products nor do they appear equipped to do so at present —but that may change in 2017.

Even without Apple manufacturing plants in the country, or corporate-owned retail stores, Apple seized 66% of India's premium phone sales in October.

While specific plans are unknown, rumors are circulating that Apple is planning up to three iPhone models in 2017. In particular, the company is said to market a pair of iPhone 7 upgrades alongside a high-end "iPhone 8."

The top-tier model is predicted to feature exotic technology like a flexible OLED screen measuring 5.1 or 5.2 inches, invisible Touch ID home button, wireless charging and a "glass sandwich" enclosure.

Recent rumblings claim possible "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus" variants will retain the aesthetic of the iPhone 7 released in September and might not include OLED displays or wireless charging, but reports vary somewhat.