India commerce minister to meet Tesla’s Musk amid market entry talks-sources

By Aditya Kalra, Aditi Shah and Shivangi Acharya

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal will meet Tesla chief Elon Musk in the United States next week as the two sides look to advance the U.S. carmaker’s plan to enter the South Asian market, sources familiar with the plans said.

The meeting between Goyal and Musk will be the most high-profile one since the Tesla boss met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and later said he was keen to make significant investments in the country.

Discussions between the Musk and Goyal in the U.S. will centre around Tesla’s plans to setup an Indian factory, manufacturing a $24,000 car there, sourcing more components and establishing charging infrastructure across the nation, one of the two sources told Reuters.

A discussion is also likely on a new policy India is working on which will allow automakers to import fully built EVs into India at a reduced tax rate of 15%, down from as much as 100% now, if they commit to some local manufacturing.

This meeting is to ensure that talks between India and Tesla “are moving in the right direction,” the person added.

India’s commerce ministry and Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.

Tesla and India have been in talks for several months with the U.S. carmaker open to setting up a factory but also keen to get lower import taxes for some of its high-end vehicles.

Prime Minister Modi’s office held a meeting with various ministries on Monday to expedite the new EV policy, said a third source.

The third person added the government is also analysing the impact the new policy could have on the Indian EV market, as local carmakers have often said lower EV import taxes could disrupt the market and hurt their plans.

Tesla first tried to enter India in 2021, pushing officials to lower the 100% import tax for EVs, but last year the talks collapsed when officials conveyed the company would have to first commit to local manufacturing.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Aditi Shah and Shivangi Acharya; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)