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International convention and customs procedures of India

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
India is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (dialogue partner), ICC, Colombo Plan, Commonwealth, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates India click here. International organisation membership of India is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Import Licensing: Though India has eliminated its import licensing requirements for most consumer goods, certain products like motorcycles and vehicles still require import licenses.

Anti-dumping and countervailing measures: Such measures are imposed from time-to-time to protect the domestic manufacturers from dumping.

Export subsidies and domestic support: Several export subsidies and other domestic support is provided to several industries to make them competitive internationally.

Procurement: The Indian government allows a price preference for local suppliers in government contracts and generally discriminates against foreign suppliers.

Service barriers: There are still some restrictions for foreign companies to enter some service-oriented sectors like insurance, banking, securities, motion pictures, accounting, construction, architecture and engineering, retailing, legal services, express delivery services and telecommunication.

Other barriers: Equity restrictions and other trade-related investment measures are in place to give an unfair advantage to domestic companies.

For the most current information on India’s Prohibited Import List, please see this document.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
The average customs duty is around 13.6%. For more information, visit World Tariff Profiles 2019 by WTO.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is the apex body for customs matters.

Customs Classification
India uses the harmonised system.
Import Procedures
Traders intending to import goods must submit an application to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and obtain an Importer and Exporter Code (IEC) number. If the trading firm is considered an EOU/EPZ (Export Oriented Units - Export Processing Zone) (100% of the production is exported), the IEC is issued by the Development Commissioner of the Export Processing Zone. This number has to be indicated on all documents filed with the Indian Customs for customs clearance procedure. This number is not required for the import of gifts and suitcases.
To determine whether a license is needed to import a particular commercial product or service, an importer must first classify the item by identifying its Indian Trading Clarification based on a Harmonized System of Coding or ITC (HS) classification.
After obtaining import licenses, importers are required to furnish import declaration in the prescribed Bill of Entry along with permanent account number (PAN) based Business Identification Number, as per Section 46 of the Customs Act (1962).
All imported goods must meet the terms of the Article 11 of the 1962 Customs Act, the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act and the EXIM policy in force. Goods that do not fall under the purview of the EXIM policy are generally confiscated or may be reimbursed in exchange for the payment of a fine.

For more information, please visit the Indian Trade Portal.
Importing Samples
Samples for non-commercial use are allowed in case the goods are supplied free of charge.

India is a member of the ATA Convention. Samples are accepted for exhibitions and fairs, whether governmental or private. Goods imported into India under ATA carnets must be re-exported within six months of importation. To stay in India longer than the six month period, obtain approval (1) from the importing customs office; (2) before the six month period expires. In the absence of such approval within the six month period and before the expiry of the six month period, duties, taxes and interest will become payable.


To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Finance
Directorate General of Foreign Trade
Asia Trade Hub
SAARC Trade Portal

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Latest Update: April 2024

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