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In India, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India issues various rules and guidelines for the importers in the following publications:
In India, the import and export of goods is regulated by the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992 and EXIM policy. The Government of India notifies the EXIM Policy for a period of five years. The Export Import Policy is updated every year on the 31st of March and the modifications, improvements and new schemes became effective from 1st April of every year. The current policy covers the period 2015-2020. The Foreign Trade Policy, 2015-20, is notified by Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992 (No. 22 of 1992) [FT (D&R) Act], as amended.
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the apex body of government of India who is responsible for all matters related to EXIM Policy, and new guidelines on Foreign Trade Policy (FTP). These rules and guidelines are revised from time to time. According to EXIM Policy all the importers must get registered with the DGFT to obtain an Importer Exporter Code Number (IEC) issued against their Permanent Account Number (PAN), before engaging in EXIM activities. After an IEC has been obtained, the source of items for import must be identified and declared.
Many items of goods are free for imports without obtaining any license. Import licenses are only required for items which are listed in the Schedule of ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import items which are as follows:
1. Licensed (Restricted) Items - Export and Import of these items are restricted through license. These can be imported or exported only in accordance with regulation of government. These include some consumer goods such as precious and semi-precious stones, products related to safety and security, seeds, plants, animals, insecticides, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, and some electronic items.
2. Canalized Items - These items can be imported / exported through Canalizing agency such as the State Trading Corporation (STC). These include petroleum products, bulk agricultural products such as grains and vegetable oils, and some pharmaceutical products.
3. Prohibited Items - These items cannot be exported or imported. E.g.: Wild life, exotic birds, wood and wood products in form of logs, timber, pulp and charcoal.
Handbook of Procedure
Handbook of Procedure is a book which is issued by DGFT. This book contains all the information about the rules and regulation related to Foreign Trade Policy (FTP). This book is issues after every five year simultaneously with revised version of Foreign Trade Policy. During the gap of five years any changes or modifications in the Handbook of Procedure are carried out by notifications and amendments.
Standard Input Output Norms (SION)
Standard Input Output Norms (SION) is standard norms which define the amount of input/inputs required to manufacture unit of output for export purpose. Input output norms are valid for the products such as electronics, engineering, chemical, food products including fish and marine products, handicraft, plastic and leather products etc. SION is notified by DGFT in the Handbook (Vol.2), 2002-07 and is approved by its Boards of Directors.
Basics Requirements of Standard Input Output Norms for fixation / modification of Standard Input Output Norms (SION) following details are required:
Export product’s technical details as per the details given in Appendix 33.
Certificate of chartered engineer which certifying the import requirements of raw materials in the format given in Appendix 32B.
Production and Consumption data of the manufacturer/supporting manufacturer of the preceding three licensing years as given in serial no 3 of sub section XII, duly certified by the Chartered accountant/ Cost & Works Accountant/ Jurisdictional Excise Authority.
ITC-HS Codes Schedules
The Indian Trade Classification – Harmonized System (ITC-HS) was adopted in India for import-export operations. The Indian Trade Classification – Harmonized System (ITC-HS) allows for the free import of most goods without a special import license but certain goods requires special permission or licensing. Indian custom uses an eight digit ITC-HS Codes to suit the national trade requirements. ITC-HS codes are divided into two schedules. ITC - HS Import Schedule I describe the rules and guidelines related to import policies where as Schedule II describe the rules and regulation related to export policies. Schedule I of the ITC-HS code is divided into 21 sections and each section is further divided into chapters. The total number of chapters in the schedule I is 98. The chapters are further divided into sub-heading under which different HS codes are mentioned.
DGFT regulates all the changes or formulation or addition of new codes in ITC-HS Codes. Commodity description, weeding out of defunct codes, addition of new codes, change of product description etc., are taken up periodically as a part of the ongoing process towards perfection.
ITC - HS Code has major 21 sections which are as follows: