Starting Import Business Introduction
Starting an import business is a goal of more than thousands of merchants and businessman. Like an export business, import business is also very profitable business, if an importer proceeds with the right strategies. However, the long term success and profitability of an import business greatly depends on the importer’s knowledge and understanding about the international market and foreign market analysis.
Today, importing goods from abroad has becomes a big business. Everything from beverages to cars--and a staggering list of other products that one might have never imagined has now become the part of the global import. Millions of products are bought, sold, represented and distributed somewhere in the world on a daily basis.
Reasons for Import
There are number of supporting reasons why import business and services is growing at such a fast rate:-
Availability: An individual or business man or an importer needs to import because there are certain things that he can’t grow or manufacture in his home country. For example Bananas in Alaska, Mahogany Lumber in Maine and Ball Park franks in France.
Cachet: A lot of things, like caviar and champagne, pack more cachet, more of an "image," if they're imported rather than home-grown. Think Scandinavian furniture, German beer, French perfume, Egyptian cotton. It all seems classier when it comes from distant place.
Price: Price factor is also an important reason for import of products. Some products are cheaper when imported from foreign country. For example Korean toys, Taiwanese electronics and Mexican clothing, to rattle off a few, can often be manufactured or assembled in foreign factories for far less money than if they were made on the domestic country.
Import in India
The rising middle income groups of consumers in India and their increasing levels on expenditure on various products has resulted a faster rising demand of the Indian import business. Major imports of India include cereals, edible oils, machineries, fertilizers and petroleum products. Total import from India estimated to be around US$187.9 billion. India is also a bulk importer of edible oil, sugar, pulp and paper, newsprint, crude rubber and Iron and steel.
Import Regulatory Body
In India, all the activities related to import are handled by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), a government organisation that also controls the export business in India. DGFT and all its regional offices work under the Ministry Commerce and Industries, Department of Commerce,
Government of India. All the procedure and policies in matter related to the import is announced by the DGFT through its notification, appendices and forms
Preliminaries for Starting Import Business
Starting an import business needs a proper guidelines and understanding of the foreign market. Before starting an import, it is also important for an importer to obtain all the necessary information in matters associated with foreign trade agreement. Starting an import is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. Like an export, import also requires a lot of preparations.
Selecting the Commodity Market
Proper selection of the commodity market is an important factor before starting an import. Commodity market data and information collected during research helps to prepare the commodity market report. The right market can be selected by answering the following the following questions.
- Is the product(s) an importer need to conducting his business available domestically?
- Is there a lucrative and untapped domestic market for an imported product?
- Does importing a product increase competitiveness as a business?
An importer should only proceed; if he is determined that importing certain goods will definitely make his business profitable.
Once the importer is confirmed about his importing decision, then he should proceed towards the development of the proper import business plan. While making the import plan, importer of India must evaluate the various government policies and guidelines including the rules and regulation as mentioned in the Foreign Trade Policy Procedures, 2004-09.
An importer is always free to import goods in India provided that such goods are imported under the regulations of ITC- HS Classifications of Export Import items. ITC-HS codes are divided into two schedules. All the rules and regulations related to the Indian import is mentioned in the Schedule I of the ITC.
Prohibited goods and items are not at all allowed to import while restricted items are only allowed to import though a special license issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
State Trading Corporation of India
There are certain goods that can be only imported outside the country through a recognize agency. State Trading Corporation of India is also one of them that import a number of essential commodities to cover the domestic shortfalls and hold the price line. STC serves the national objective by arranging timely imports at most competitive prices. In the process, the Corporation makes best use of its strength in handling bulk imports, vast infrastructure and above all an experience of over four decades in fulfilling the needs of the industry. The STC is responsible for the import of goods such as bullion, vanaspati and edible oils, pulses, hydro-carbons, metals and minerals and fertilizers.
Registration for Importers
Registration of importer is a pre-requisite for import of goods. The Customs will not allow clearance of goods unless the importer has obtained IEC Number from issuing authority. In India, IEC number or Importers Exporters Code is issued by the DGFT.
However, no such import business registration is necessary for persons importing goods from Nepal or Myamar through Indo-Myanmar border or from china, through Gunji, Namgaya, shipkila or Nathula ports provided that the Value of a single Consignment does not exceed Rs. 25000/-.
Application for IEC Number:
An application for grant of IEC Code Number should be made in the prescribed Performa given at Appendix 3.I. The application duly signed by the applicant should be supported by the following documents:
Bank Receipt (in duplicate) / Indian demand draft for payment of the fee of Rs.1000/- Certificate from the Banker of the applicant firm as per Annexure 1 to the form.
Two copies of passport size photographs of the applicant duly attested by the banker of the applicant.
A copy of Permanent Account Number issued by Income Tax Authorities, if PAN has not been allotted, a copy of the letter of legal authority may be furnished.
Declaration by the applicant that the proprietors/partners/directors of the applicant firm/company, as the case may be, are not associated as proprietor/partners/directors with any other firm/company the IEC No. is allotted with a condition that be can export only with the prior approval of the RBI India.
Process of Online Application
On-line form has been designed to ensure feeding of all the required information by prompting user wherever a field is left blank. Application has to submit scanned copies of PAN (Permanent Account Number) and bank certificate of deposits along with their application.
There are 2 options for payment of fee.
Demand Draft: If fee is paid by Demand Draft, IEC will be generated only after receipt of the physical copy of the application.
Electronic Fund Transfer: If IEC application fee is paid through Electronic Fund Transfer facility, IEC number will be generated by the licensing office automatically and the number can be viewed online by the applicant.
Guidelines for filling up IEC Form
All applications must be made in the prescribed form in duplicate, duly accompanied by Bank Receipt/ Demand Draft evidencing payment of fee.
Application form should be submitted in neatly typed bold letters. Handwritten forms are also accepted.
Each page of the document must have the signature of the authorised person with an ink pen.
Supporting documents in duplicate, duly self attested as specified earlier in this chapter must be enclosed wherever applicable.
Items of information relevant to applicant should only be filled in and remaining items may be marked 'Not Applicable'.
Two copies of the passport size photograph of the applicant duly attested by the applicant's banker shall be submitted.
Modifications of particulars of the applicant should also be furnished on this form by filling the relevant items.
Duplicate Copy of IEC No.
Duplicate copy of IEC Number is issued to those importer (or exporter) who has lost their original IEC number. Importers are required to submit an affidavit and a fee of Rs.200 to obtain a duplicate copy of IEC Number.
Surrender of IEC No.
Any importer who doesn’t want to continue his import business may surrender the IEC number to the issuing authority. On receipt of such intimation, the issuing authority shall immediately cancel the same and electronically transmit it to DGFT for onward transmission to the Customs and Regional Authorities.
Guidelines and Rules for Import Business
The various rules and guidelines in respect of various commodities and category of importers are mentioned in the following publications issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and revised from time to time:
- Import - Export Policy, 1997-2002 as modified up to 31.03.1999
- Handbook of Procedure
- Standard Input - Output Norms, 1997-2002.
- ITC (HS) Classification of Import and Export Items.
Export- Import Policy (1997-2002)
Export Import Policy or better known as Exim Policy is a set of guidelines and instructions related to the import and export of goods. The Government of India notifies the Exim Policy for a period of five years (1997-2002) under Section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation Act), 1992. The current policy covers the period 2002-2007. 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. All types of changes or modifications related to the Exim Policy is normally announced by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry who co-ordinates with the Ministry of Finance, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and its network of regional offices.
Canalization is an important feature of Exim Policy under which certain goods can be imported only by designated agencies. For an example, canalised import items like gold, in bulk, can be imported only by specified banks like SBI (State Bank of India) and some foreign banks or designated agencies.
Handbook of Procedure
Handbook of Procedure (Volume I and Volume II), which is issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), is a book that contains all the necessary information about the rules and regulation in the matter related to Foreign Trade Policy. Handbook of Procedure is issued at the gap of every five year with change in the Foreign Trade Policy. Between the five years terms, any further changes or modifications in the Handbook of Procedure are carried out by notifications and amendments.
Standard Input Output Norms or SION in short is standard norms which define the amount of input/inputs required to manufacture a unit of output for export purpose. Input output norms are applicable for the products such as electronics, engineering, chemical, food products including fish and marine products, handicraft, plastic and leather products etc. An application for modification of existing Standard Input-Output norms may be filed by manufacturer exporter and merchant-exporter.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) from time to time issue notifications for fixation or addition of SION for different export products. Fixation of Standard Input Output Norms facilitates issues of Advance Licence to the exporters of the items without any need for referring the same to the Headquarter office of DGFT on repeat basis.
ITC- HS Codes
ITC- HS codes or better known as Indian Trade Clarification based on Harmonised System of Coding was adopted in India for import-export business. Indian custom uses an eight digit ITC HS Codes to suit the international trade requirements.
Harmonised System codes are divided into two schedules. 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. Schedule II of the ITC-HS code contain 97 chapters giving all the details about the guidelines related to the export policies.
Selection of Overseas Exporters and Suppliers
Selecting an overseas exporter raises a number of issues for the importer such as language differences, payment methods and increased paperwork requirements. However, with a little research and proper planning these challenges can be easily overcome. In this chapter, we will discuss the various factors required for consideration of an overseas exporter or supplier and the methods for selecting overseas suppliers.
Trading with overseas supplier is quite different from trading in India, particularly when dealing with a country outside Asia, so an importer should consider the following factor before import.
- Whether there are import or restricted trade at either end of the transaction.
- Whether technical standards in supplier's country meet Indian requirements.
- Who is liable if a product causes harm or loss?
- Whether imported goods infringe any intellectual property rights or not.
- Who bears insurance costs at each stage of transit?
- A well-drafted written contract will help to avoid disagreements or disputes.
There is a range of other factors that an importer should bear in mind:
- Language differences are important. It's not just a matter of communication - make sure any labelling or other printed materials are error-free.
- Payment methods for international trade transactions are an import issue for import. So, importer must take a proper care while selected a payment methods such as Letter of Credit (Documentary Credit, or Lc), Documentary Collection, Advance Payment Receipt.
- Shipping of goods is also a complicated process. Given the increased distances and the need to cross borders.
- Understanding the business and social practices of supplier's country can help build trust and develop relationships.
- The origin of your goods can affect the level of duty you pay. Some goods attract a preferential rate of duty, so you need to check where your supplier's raw materials have come from. Visiting suppliers is the best way of doing this.
Capability of Overseas Supplier
Successful completion of an import transaction mainly depends upon the capability of the overseas supplier to fulfill that contact. Therefore, it
becomes important for the importer to properly verify the foreign exporter before entering into a contract with the exporter. Confidential information about the exporter may obtain through the banks and Indian embassies abroad. The importer can also take the assistance of Credit Information Agencies for specific commercial information on overseas suppliers.
Sources of Information
The information regarding overseas exporter and suppliers can generally be obtained from the following sources:
- Trade Directories and Yellow pages, like Singapore yellow pages, Japan yellow pages, USA yellow pages etc. available from leading booksellers in India.
- Consulate Generals and Trade Representative of various countries in India and abroad.
- Friends and relatives in foreign countries.
- International Trade Fairs and Exhibitions for which you may contact: International Trade Promotions Organization (ITPO), PragatiMadian, New Delhi.
- Chambers of Commerce as per addresses.
- Directorates of Industries, etc.
- Indenting Agent of Foreign Suppliers.
- Visiting popular Web-sites.
Role of Overseas Agents in India
Some overseas suppliers have appointed their agents in India. These agents procure orders from the Indian parties and arrange for the supply of goods from abroad. It is advisable to import through such agents as they can be readily contacted in case of any difficulty with regards to quality of goods, payment and documentation, etc.
Finalizing the Terms of Import
Once importer is satisfied with the sample and the creditworthiness of the overseas exporter, importer can proceed further to finalization the terms of the import contract. Import’s contract need to be carefully and comprehensively drafted incorporating there in precise terms, all relevant conditions of the trade deal. There should not be any ambiguity regarding the exact specifications of the goods and terms of the purchase including import price, mode of payment, type of packaging, port of shipment, delivery schedule, replacement of defective goods supplied, after sale services/warranty coverage etc.
Import License and IEC Code Number
While the majority of the goods are freely importable, the Exim Policy (2007) of India prohibits import of certain categories of products as well as conditional import of certain items. In such a situation it becomes important for the importer to have an import license issued by the issuing authorities of the Government of India.
Import License Issuing Authority
In India, Import License is issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade. DGFT Delhi office is situated in UdyogBhawan, New Delhi 110011.
Validity of Import License
Import Licenses are valid for 24 months for capital goods and 18 months for raw materials components, consumable and spares, with the license term renewable.
Sample of Import License
A typical sample of import license consists of two copies-
Foreign Exchange Control Copy: To be utilised for effecting remittance to foreign seller or for opening letter of credit
Customs Copy: To be utilised for presenting to Customs authority enabling them to clear the goods. In the absence of custom copy, import will be declared as an unauthorised import, liable for confiscation and or penalty.
Categories of Import
All types of imported goods come under the following four categories:
- Freely importable items: Most capital goods fall into this category. Any product declared as Freely Importable Item does not require import licenses.
- Licensed Imports: There are number of goods, which can only be importer under an import license. This category includes several broad product groups that are classified as consumer goods; precious and semi-precious stones; products related to safety and security; seeds, plants and animals; some insecticides, pharmaceuticals and chemicals; some electronically items; several items reserved for production by the small-scale sector; and 17 miscellaneous or special-category items.
- Canalised Items: There are certain canalised items that can only be importer in India through specified channels or government agencies. These include petroleum products (to be imported only by the Indian Oil Corporation); nitrogenous phosphatic, potassic and complex chemical fertilizers (by the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation) vitamin- A drugs (by the State Trading Corporation); oils and seeds (by the State Trading Corporation and Hindustan Vegetable Oils); and cereals (by the Food Corporation of India).
- Prohibited items: Only four items-tallow fat, animal rennet, wild animals and unprocessed ivory-are completely banned from importation.
Category of Importer
On the basis of product to be imported and its target buyer, importers categories are divided into three groups for the purpose of obtaining import licensing:
- Actual Users- An actual user applies for and receives a license to import of any item for personal use rather than for business or trade purpose.
- Registered exporters; defined as those who have a valid registration certificate issued by an export promotion council, commodity board or other registered authority designated by the Government for purposes of export-promotion.
The two types of actual user license are:
- General Licenses : This license can be used for the imports of goods from all countries, except those countries from which imports are prohibited;
- Specific Licenses: This license can only be used for imports from a specific country.
Any violation in the import license is usually scanned by the custom officials of the custom department. Customer inspector and other custom officials have authority to inspect and evaluate the goods to be imported. It’s a part of their job to determine whether imports conform to the description in the import License or not. Custom official even have right to charge fines and penalties if any violation in the import license is found to be done by the importer.
Import Trade Governing Bodies
Import in India is governed by the certain rules and regulation, which are issued by the import-export governing bodies. IImport Export government authorities decide which items will be imported and which item will be prohibited. The quantity of goods to be imported and tax imposed on the imported goods is also under the control of import governing body. Import-Export governing bodies also play an important role in settling the Foreign Trade Agreement in matters related to import of goods.
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the nodal authority for formulating and implementing the foreign trade policy in matter related to Import. The Department of Commerce play a key role in matters related to multilateral and bilateral commercial relations, state trading, export promotion measures and development and regulation of certain import oriented industries and commodities.
There are two departments under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The first one is the Department of Commerce and the second is Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion. The department of Ministry of Commerce which is sometimes also termed as Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was established in the year 1995, and in the year 2000 Department of Industrial Development was merged with it.
Ministry of Commerce and Industry has its offices in all the major cities. Its Delhi office is located at UdyogBhavan, New Delhi – 110011 India
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
DGFT or Directorate General of Foreign Trade is a government organisation in India responsible for the formulation of guidelines and principles for importers as well as exporters of country.
Preparation, formulation and implication of Exim Policies are one of the main functions of DGFT. Apart from Exim Policy, DGFT is also responsible for issuing IEC or Import Export Code. IEC codes are mandatory for carrying out import export trade operations and enable companies to acquire benefits on their imports/exports, customs, exports promotion council etc in India. DGFT also play an important role in controlling DEPB rates and setting standard input-output norms. Any changes or formulation or addition of new codes in ITC-HS Codes are also carried out by DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade).
DGFT has its offices in all the major cities. Its Delhi office is located at IP Bhawan, New Delhi.
Central Board of Excises Customs (CBEC)
The Central Board of Excises Customs (CBEC) under Ministry of Finance is the controlling authority to handle custom duty related matters. CBEC regularly publishes the "Indian Customs Tariff Guide that provides all types of information on custom duty rules and regulation in India.
Custom duty not only raises money for the Central Government but also helps the government to prevent the illegal imports and exports of goods from India. The Central government has emergency powers to increase import or export duties whenever necessary after a notification in the session of Parliament.
Objectives of Custom Duties
- Regulating the amount of import in India in order to protect the domestic market.
- Protecting Indian Industry from undue competition
- Prohibiting certain imports of goods for achieving the policy objectives of the Government.
- Regulating imports
- Coordinating legal provisions with other laws dealing with foreign exchange such as Foreign Trade Act, Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act, etc.
All import goods are classified into categories known as called "headings" and "subheadings" (Harmonised System Codes) for the purpose of levy of duty. For each sub-heading, a specific rate of duty has been prescribed in the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
Import of Samples
Before making a confirmed order, it is important for the importer to ask for a sample of the original manufactured product that can be shown or demonstrated for Customer appreciation and familiarisation. Import of samples help the importer to deciding the total quantity of product need to be imported as well as also allows importer to make any necessary changes in the final product.
The import samples are basically specimens of the product, which is finally given to the importer. It may include consumer goods, consumer durables, prototypes of engineering goods or even high value equipment, machineries (including agricultural machinery) and their accessories. Import of samples can be done by the trade, industry, individuals, Companies, Associations, Research Institutes or Laboratories. These can also be brought by the Representatives of foreign Manufacturer as a part of their personal Baggage or through port or in Courier. They can also be sent by Manufacturers/Traders abroad to above parties in India.
Geneva Convention, 1952
Import of samples of goods is exempt from import duties under Geneva Convention of 7th November, 1952. India is also a signatory to a 1952 convention to facilitate the Importation of Commercial samples and Advertising materials. The notifications issued in this regard enable duty free import of genuine Commercial samples into the country for smooth flow of trade.
Restriction on Import of Samples
However, goods which are prohibited under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 are not allowed to be imported as samples e.g. wild animals, wild birds and parts of wild animals and birds, ivory, arms & ammunitions, and Narcotic drugs.
The bonafide trade samples can be imported by trade and industry provided the said goods have been supplied free of charge. For duty free clearance the value of individual sample should not exceed Rs.5000/- and aggregate value should not exceed Rs.60, 000/- per year or 15 units of samples in a year. This strategy avoids the risk of not paying Customs Duty through repeated imports of samples in smaller lots.
Import of machinery products, which are prototypes of engineering goods can also be imported duty free if the value does not exceed Rs.10000/-. In case the value of machinery exceeds more than Rs.10000/- then such goods are always chargeable to duty.
Privacy of Import Samples
In case of high valued machinery the importer can import a sample under privacy. On the request of importer, the Customs authority may also seal the machinery during its journey from the port of importation to the place of demonstration and it is unsealed only at the place of operation or place of demonstration.
Failure to re-export
In case of any damage to the previously send import sample of product, the same sample can be send again within the time period of 9 months. However, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs, may under special circumstances extend the period of 9 months for a further reasonable period.
Finalizing Terms of Import
Once an importer is satisfied with the product sample and creditworthiness of the supplier or exporter, the he can proceed to finalise the terms of the import contract. At this stage importer need to draft the contract terms and conditions very carefully and comprehensively. There should not be any ambiguity regarding the exact specifications of the goods and terms of the purchase including import price, mode of payment, type of packaging, port of shipment, delivery schedule, replacement of defective goods supplied, after sale services/warranty coverage etc.
The different aspect of an import contract is enumerated as under some of which may be relevant and other may not be:
Product Specifications: An importer should clearly mention every minute detail about the product. This factor sometimes became quite important while importing a special order product or item.
Product Standards: Importer should check weather the imported product meets the product standards like ISO certification and Agmark Certifications.
Quantity: Before making an import order, an importer should evaluate the domestic market. This will help the importer to judge the actual quantity of product to be imported.
Inspection: Importer should make clear weather the inspection of imported product will be done by the importer side or exporter side or by a third party agency. In case of inspection done by a third party, importer should also make clear that who will bear the inspection charges.
Terms of Delivery: Delivery terms define the obligations and the responsibilities of the buyer and seller during the delivery of goods. Importer should check all the terms of delivery as mentioned in the Incoterms to avoid any feature doubts.
Terms of Payments: The method of payment is an essential part of an import contract. The credit standing of the importer, previous history of payments, regulations on foreign exchange and licenses in different countries, as well as vested business practices all have an influence on selecting the method of payment.
Import License and Import Permits: Importer should check weather the goods to be imported need any license or not. Importer must also check weather the imported goods are prohibited or restricted.
Duties and Charges: It is better for an importer to have knowledge of all duties and charges imposed on the imported goods.
Periods of Delivery /Shipment: Importer must fix a particular date for the delivery of product, which is also acceptable to the exporter exporting the goods. Importer should also mention the charges that importer will imposed on the exporter in case of late delivery.
Packing, Labeling and Marketing: Proper packaging and labelling not only makes the final product look attractive but also save a huge amount of money by saving the product from wrong handling the export process. So, importer should mention his entire requirement in detail and with preference on labeling of products.
Insurance: Importer can ask the exporter to insure the goods and bear the cost of import insurance. Insurance can also be done from the importer side but it must be made clear on the document
Custom Import Duty on Importing Goods
The concept of import duty is very wide and is almost applicable to every product or item imported to India barring a few goods like food grains, fertilizer, life saving drugs and equipment etc. Import duties form a significant source of revenue for the country and are levied on the goods and at the rates specified in the Schedules to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
Import through Sea
Territorial water extends up to 12 nautical miles into the sea from the coast of India and so the liability to pay import duty commences as soon as goods enter the territorial waters of India. No duty is livable on goods which are in transit in the same ship or if goods are in transit from one ship to another.
Basic Duty is a type of duty or tax imposed under the Customs Act (1962). Basic Customs Duty varies for different items from 5% to 40%. The duty rates are mentioned in the First Schedule of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and have been amended from time to time under the Finance Act. The duty may be fixed on ad –valorem basis or specific rate basis. The Central Government has the power to reduce or exempt any good from these duties.
Additional duty also known as countervailing duty or C.V.D is equal to excise duty imposed on a like product manufactured or produced in India. It is implemented under the Section 3 (1) of the Indian Custom Tariff Act. The Government has exempted all goods, when imported into India for subsequent sale, from the whole of the additional duty of customs leviable thereon under Sub-Section (5) of Section 3 of the Customs Tariff Act vide Customs Tariff Notification No. 102/2007 dated 14th September 2007. However, the importers will be first required to pay the said duty and thereafter required to claim the refund.
Special additional duty
Special Additional Duty of Customs is imposed at the rate of 4% in order to provide a level playing field to indigenous goods which have to bear sales tax. This duty is to computed on the aggregate of –
- assessable value;
- basic duty of Customs;
- surcharge; and
- additional duty of Customs leviable under section 3 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (c.v.d.)
Dumping means exporting goods in a foreign market at a price which is less than their cost of production or below their "fair" market value. Dumping gives a hard competition to a domestic goods manufacturer. So, to counteract this dumping, the Indian government has formulated certain guidelines and policies. Imposing duty on imported goods is also one of them and is known as Anti-Dumping Duty.
All the laws related to anti-dumping duties are mention in the sections 9A, 9B and 9C of the Indian Customs Tariff Act (1975), and the Indian Customs Tariff Rules (1995). These laws are based on the Agreement on Anti-Dumping which is in pursuance of Article VI of GATT 1994.
- Like an export, import of goods is also associated with various types of risks. Some of these are
- Transport Risk – This risk is associated with the loss of goods during transportation.
- Quality Risk – This risk is associated with the final quality of the products.
- Delivery Risk – This risk arises when the goods are not delivered on time.
- Exchange Risk – This risk arises due to the change in the value of currency.
These risks are explained more fully below.
For a better transport risk management, an importer must ensure that the goods supplied by the exporter is insured. Whether the goods are transported by Sea or by Air, the risk can be covered by Insurance. It is always advisable to set out the agreement between the parties as to the type of cover to be obtained in the Contract of Sale. Often Importers will wish to obtain Insurance cover from their own Insurance Company under a 'blanket cover' called an 'Open Policy' thus taking advantage of bulk billing and other relationships.
The proper quality risk analysis is important for the importer to ensure that the final products are as good as the sample. Occasionally, it has been found that the goods are not in accordance with samples, quality is not as specified, or they are otherwise unsatisfactory. To handle such situations in future, importer must take necessary protective measures in advance. One the best method to avoid such situation is to investigate the reputation and standing of the supplier. Even before receiving the final product, inspection can be done from the importer side or exporter side or by a third party agency.
In case of Bill of Exchange, with documents released against acceptance, the Importer is able to inspect the goods before payment is made to the Supplier at the maturity date. In this method of payment, if the goods are not in accordance with the Contract of Sale the Importer is able to stop payment on the accepted draft prior to maturity. Importers should consider what measures can be taken to ensure that the need for legal action does not arise. If the Importer has an agent in the Supplier's country it may be possible for closer supervision to be maintained over shipments.
Delivery of goods on time is important factor for the importer to reach the target market. For example any product or item which has been ordered for Christmas is of no use if it is received after the Christmas. Importer must make the import contract very specific, so that importer always has an option of refusing payment if it is apparent that goods have not been shipped by the specific shipment date. Where an Importer is paying for goods by means of a Documentary Credit, the Issuing Bank can be instructed to include a 'latest date for shipment' in the terms of the Credit.
Before entering into a commercial contract, it is always advisable for the importer to determine the value of the product in domestic currency. As there is always a gap between the time of entering into the contract and the actual payment for the goods is received, so determining the value of the good in domestic currency will help an exporter to quote the right price for the product.
- Contracting to import in Indian Rupees.
- Entering into a Foreign Exchange Contract through Bank.
- Offsetting Export receivables against Import payables in the same currency by using a Foreign Currency Account.
- Where Pre / Post-Shipment Finance is provided with a Foreign Currency Loan in the currency of the transaction and Export receipts repay the loan.
Import Incentives under Special Schemes
The Government of India offers many incentives to Indian importer under special schemes. These schemes are mostly available on those imported product, which will be latter on used for manufacturing of goods meant for export. This not only stimulates the industrial growth and development but also brings the foreign currency after the final export process. The following are some of the important import incentives offered by the Government of India, which significantly reduce the effective tax rates for the import companies:
Any type of import incentive under preferential rate is only applicable for the import o goods from certain preferential countries such as Mauritius, Seychelles and Tonga provided certain conditions are satisfied. The certificate of origin is very important in order to avail of the benefits of such concessional rates of duty.
Duty Entitlement Pass Book in short DEPB is basically an export incentive scheme. The objective of DEPB scheme is to neutralize the incidence of basic custom duty on the import content of the exported products. Notified on 1/4/1997, the DEPB Scheme consisted of (a) Post-export DEPB and (b) Pre-export DEPB. The pre-export DEPB scheme was abolished w.e.f. 1/4/2000. Under the post-export DEPB, which is issued after exports, the exporter is given a Duty Entitlement Pass Book at a pre-determined credit on the FOB value. The DEPB allows import of any items except the items which are otherwise restricted for imports.
Duty Drawback rates in India is the special rebate given under the Section 75 of Indian Customs Act on exported products or materials. Duty drawback rates or concession are only applicable on products which are used in the processing of goods manufactured in India and then exported to foreign countries. Duty Drawback is not given on inputs obtained without payment of customs or excise duty. In case of re-export of goods, it should be done within 2 years from the date of payment of duty when they were imported. 98% of the duty is allowable as drawback, only after inspection. If the goods imported are used before its re-export, the drawback will be allowed as at reduced per cent.
All industry drawback rates are fixed by Directorate of Drawback, Dept. of Revenue, Ministry of Finance and Government of India and are periodically revised - normally on 1st June every year. Section 37 of Central Excise Act allows Central Government to frame rules for purpose of the Act. Under these powers, ‘Customs and Central Excise Duties Drawback Rules, 1995’ have been framed.
Under the Duty Free Replenishment Certificate (DFRC) schemes, import incentives are given to the exporter for the import of inputs used in the manufacture of goods without payment of basic customs duty. Such inputs shall be subject to the payment of additional customs duty equal to the excise duty at the time of import. Duty Free Replenishment Certificate (DFRC) shall be available for exports only up to 30.04.2006 and from 01.05.2006 this scheme is being replaced by the Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA).
Effective from 1st May, 2006, Duty Free Import Authorisation or DFIA in short is issued to allow duty free import of inputs which are used in the manufacture of the export product (making normal allowance for wastage), and fuel, energy, catalyst etc. which are consumed or utilised in the course of their use to obtain the export product. Duty Free Import Authorisation is issued on the basis of inputs and export items given under Standard Input and Output Norms (SION).
Deemed Export is a special type of transaction in which the payment is received before the goods are delivered. The payment can be done in Indian Rupees or in Foreign Exchange. As the deemed export is also a source of foreign exchange, so the Government of India has given the benefit duty free import of inputs.
Agri Export Zones
Various importers that come under the Agri Export Zones are entitled to all the import facilities and incentives.
Served from India
In order to create a powerful “Served from India” brand all over the world, the government has provided different type of import incentive to the invisible export providers. Under the Served from India Scheme, import incentive is given for import of any capital goods, spares, office equipment and professional equipment.
Manufacture under Bond
Under the Manufacture under Bond Scheme, all factories registered to produce their goods for export are exempted from import duty and other taxes on inputs used to manufacture such goods. Against this the manufacturer is allowed to import goods without paying any customs duty. The production is made under the supervision of customs or excise authority.
Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme (EPCG)
EPCG is a special type of incentive given to the EPCG license holder. Capital goods imported under EPCG Scheme are subject to actual user condition and the same cannot be transferred /sold till the fulfillment of export obligation specified in the license. In order to ensure that the capital goods imported under EPCG Scheme, the license holder is required to produce certificate from the jurisdictional Central Excise Authority (CEA) or Chartered Engineer (CE) confirming installation of such capital goods in the declared premises. Under Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme, a license holder can import capital goods such as plant, machinery, equipment, components and spare parts of the machinery at concessional rate of customs duty of 5% and without CVD and special duty.
Methods of Payments in Import
There is no predefined definition of personal import. In general a personal import is a direct purchase of foreign goods from overseas mail order companies, retailers, manufacturers or by an individual for the purpose of personal use.
The most common terms of purchase are as follows:
- Consignment Purchase
- Cash-in-Advance (Pre-Payment)
- Down Payment
- Open Account
- Documentary Collections
- Letters of Credit
Consignment purchase terms can be the most beneficial method of payment for the importer. In this method of purchase, importer makes the payment only once the goods or imported items are sold to the end user. In case of no selling, the same item is returned to the foreign supplier. Consignment purchase is considered the most risky and time taking method of payment for the exporter.
Cash in Advance is a pre-payment method in which, an importer the payment for the items to be imported in advance prior to the shipment of goods. The importer must trust that the supplier will ship the product on time and that the goods will be as advertised. Cash-in-Advance method of payment creates a lot of risk factors for the importers. However, this method of payment is inexpensive as it involves direct importer-exporter contact without commercial bank involvement.
In international trade, Cash in Advance methods of payment is usually done when-
- The Importer has not been long established.
- The Importer's credit status is doubtful or unsatisfactory.
- The country or political risks are very high in the importer’s country.
- The product is in heavy demand and the seller does not have to accommodate an Importer's financing request in order to sell the merchandise.
In the method of down payment, an importer pays a fraction of the total amount of the items to be imported in advance. The down payment methods have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it induces the exporter or seller to begin performance without the importer or buyer paying the full agreed price in advance and the disadvantage is that there is a possibility the Seller or exporter may never deliver the goods even though it has the Buyer's down payment.
In case of an open account, an importer takes the delivery of good and ensures the supplier to make the payment at some specific date in the future. Importer is also not required to issue any negotiable instrument evidencing his legal commitment to pay at the appointed time. This type of payment methods are mostly seen where when the importer/buyer has a strong credit history and is well-known to the seller. Open Account method of payment offers no protection in case of non-payment to the seller.
There are many merits and demerits of open account terms. Under an open account payment method, title to the goods usually passes from the seller to the buyer prior to payment and subjects the seller to risk of default by the Buyer. Furthermore, there may be a time delay in payment, depending on how quickly documents are exchanged between Seller and Buyer. While this payment term involves the fewest restrictions and the lowest cost for the Buyer, it also presents the Seller with the highest degree of payment risk and is employed only between a Buyer and a Seller who have a long-term relationship involving a great level of mutual trust.
Documentary Collection is an important bank payment method under, which the sale transaction is settled by the bank through an exchange of documents. In this process the seller's instructs his bank to forwards documents related to the export of goods to the buyer's bank with a request to present these documents to the buyer for payment, indicating when and on what conditions these documents can be released to the buyer.
The buyer may obtain possession of goods and clear them through customs, if the buyer has the shipping documents such as original bill of lading, certificate of origin, etc. However, the documents are only given to the buyer after payment has been made ("Documents against Payment") or payment undertaking has been given - the buyer has accepted a bill of exchange issued by the seller and payable at a certain date in the future (maturity date) ("Documents against Acceptance").
Documentary Collections make easy import-export operations within low cost. But it does not provide same level of protection as the letter of credit as it does not involve any kind of bank guarantee like letter of credit.
Letter of Credit
A letter of credit is the most well known method of payment in international trade. Under an import letter of credit, importer’s bank guarantees to the supplier that the bank will pay mentioned amount in the agreement, once supplier or exporter meet the terms and conditions of the letter of credit. In this method of payment, plays an intermediary role to help complete the trade transaction. The bank deals only in documents and does not inspect the goods themselves. Letters of Credit are issued subject to the Uniforms Customs & Practice for Documentary Credits (UCPDC)(UCP). This set of rules is produced by the International Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CII).
Documents Against Acceptance: Instructions given by an exporter to a bank that the documents attached to the draft for collection are deliverable to the drawee only against his or her acceptance of the draft.
Import Personal Baggage
There is no predefined definition of personal import. In general a personal import is a direct purchase of foreign goods from overseas mail order companies, retailers, manufacturers or by an individual for the purpose of personal use.
Forms of Personal Import are:
There are two forms of personal import:
- Direct Personal Import: An importer himself/herself places orders to foreign mail order companies, retailers or manufactures and imports directly from them.
- Indirect Personal Import: An importer places orders to an import agent and imports goods via the agent.
In any case, since personal import is direct trade with foreign countries, a buyer must understand the various rules and regulation while importing such goods. For importing any good in India, a buyer must check the item in the ITC-HS code in order to know weather the item is free to import, restricted or prohibited.
Importance of IEC Number for Personal Import
Import Export Code Number or IEC number is not required for import of items for personal use.
Import of Baggage
While travelling passengers are allowed to carry certain items with them, which are governed by the Baggage Rules 1998. Baggage Rules contain separate concessions for resident tourist and person transferring their residence to India. Special provisions have also been made for unaccompanied baggage and application of the rules to the members of the crew.
Items that can not be Imported for Personal Use
There are certain items that can not be imported for personal use. These items are listed below-
- Vegetables and seeds exceeding one pound
- Books, magazines, journals and literature
- Items which has been Canalised under the Indian Exim Policy (2007) or Foreign Trade Policy.
- Arms and ammunitions
- Consumer electronic items, except hearing aid and other life savingequipments
Import of items by Registered Courier
For the purpose of taxation, import of goods by registered carrier is not included under the Baggage Rule Act (1998). Under a new system of assessment, the clearance of goods is governed by the Courier Imports and Exports Regulation Act (1998).
Import of items by UN Officials
UN Officials and its authorized agencies are exempted from payment of custom duty under the United Nation Act (1947).
Import of items by Indian Professionals
All the rules and regulation for the import of goods and item by the Indian professionals is mentioned in the Rule 5 and Appendix C of the Baggage Rule (1998).
Import of Samples
All samples are allowed for import mentioned in the ITC-HS Classification of export and import items are allowed without a license. However items like vegetables, seeds, bees, and new drugs are not listed under free import and need a special license.
Samples of tea not exceeding Rs. 2000 (CIF) in one consignment is allowed without any authorisation form the Custom or Tea Board of India. An individual is also free to bring a sample of worth Rs- 75,000 (except for gems and jewellery) and Rs- 300,000 for the samples of gems and jewellery.
Import of Gifts
The Government has exempted gifts items received from foreign country to persons residing in India from the whole of custom duty under Foreign Trade Act. In the present scenario, import of goods up to the value of Rs. 5,000/- is allowed as gift, duty free. This exemption is allowed only for bonafide gifts imported by air or post. For the purpose of calculation of this value of Rs. 5,000/- the air freight or postal charges paid are not added. It is important to note that the value of Rs. 5,000/- is the value of the goods in the country from where the goods have been dispatched. The sender may not necessarily be residing in the country from where the goods have been dispatched.
Who can send the gifts?
Any person living abroad can send a gift to an individual living in India. There is no specific restriction that only relatives can send the gift items. Business associated, friends, relatives, companies or acquaintances can also send the gifts to the people living in India.
Custom Clearance Permit of Imported Gifts
Import of gifts items, which is freely importable need no custom clearance permit. However, there are certain gift items that are not freely importable. In such a situation a special permit is required by the custom authorities. The main objective of the custom clearance permit is to allow the import of gift items which is other wise restricted or prohibited by Government of India for the use of charitable, religious or educational institute registered under a law or approved by the Central or State Government.
Application Procedure for Custom Clearance Permit (CCP)
An application for the grant of CCP for an item which is otherwise restricted or prohibited in the ITC-HS Classification may be made to Director General of Foreign Trade supported by the following documents.
- Applicant's request on his compay’s letter head or plain paper duly signed with all the details.
- Donor's letter in original duly signed and indicating his name, address and the purpose of offering gift.
- Bank Receipt in original in duplicate/ Demand Draft / EFT details towards payments of application fee at the prescribed rate.
- Self certified copy of proforma invoice.
- Any other relevant document which applicant would like to enclose.
Import Cars and Commercial and Non Commercial Vehicles
Exim policy of India is quite strict in matters related to import of vehicle. Apart from the heavy custom duty on the automobile, the Exim policy of India also states that the Vehicle should not be manufactured/ assembled in India, not been sold, leased or loaned prior to being imported to India; or should have been registered for use in any country prior to being imported to India. It is also mentioned in the Exim policy that for new vehicles being imported into the country should be imported only from the country of manufacture and should comply with Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.
Import of New Vehicles
The import of vehicles shall be subject to the following guidelines of the Government of India:
- A new imported vehicle shall mean a vehicle that:-
- has not been manufactured/assembled in India; and
- has not been sold, leased or loaned prior to importation into India; or
- has not been registered for use in any country according to the laws of that country, prior to importation into India.
2. The import of new vehicles shall be subject to the following conditions:
The new vehicle shall-
- have a speedometer indicating the speed in km / h;
- have right hand steering, and controls (applicable on vehicles other than two and three wheelers);
- have photometry of the headlamps to suit "keep-left" traffic; and
- be imported from the country of manufacture.
- In addition, the new vehicle shall conform to the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the rules made thereunder, as applicable, on the date of import.
- The import of new vehicles shall be permitted only through the Indian Customs Port at NhavaSheva (Mumbai), Calcutta and Chennai.
Import of old Vehicles
The Government of India has allowed the entry of second hand vehicles into the country only through the Mumbai port. The Ministry of Commerce has identified six categories of second hand vehicles having cylinder capacity of up to 3000 cc that can be brought in the country through the Mumbai port.
- A second hand or used vehicle shall mean a vehicle that :-
- has been sold, leased or loaned prior to importation into India; or
- has been registered for use in any country according to the laws of that country, prior to importation into India;
2. The import of second had or used vehicles shall be subject to the following conditions:-
- The second hand or used vehicle shall not be older than three years from the date of manufacture;
- The second hand or used vehicle shall:
- have right hand steering, and controls (applicable on vehicles other than two and three wheelers);
- have a speedometer indicating the speed km / h; and
- have photometry of the headlamps to suit "keep left" traffic.
- In addition, the second hand or used vehicle shall conform to the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and the rules made there under, as applicable, on the date of import.
- Import of second hand vehicles shall be allowed only through the customs port at Mumbai.
The second hand or used vehicles imported into India should have a minimum roadworthiness for a period of 5 years from the date of importation into India with assurance for providing service facilities within the country during the five year period.
Testing of Imported Vehicles
After import it is necessary to submit the imported vehicle to Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ahmednagar, of the Ministry of Defence or the Automotive Research Association of India, Pune or the Central Farm and Machinery Training and Testing Institute, Budni, Madhya Pradesh, or other notified testing agency authorised by the Indian Government .
The policy totally bans the import of cars whose engine capacity ranges from 1000 to 2500cc. As far as two-wheelers go, scooters with an engine capacity of over 50 cc to 500cc can be imported. Motorcycle engine capacity should be their engine capacity should be over 250 cc but not in excess of 800 cc.
Import of Motor Cars under transfer of residence
Any nonresident Indians or foreign nationals coming to India on a transfer basis are allowed to import one vehicle. The imported vehicle could be new or old. However, it is important that vehicle should be imported into India within six months of the arrival of the foreign individual. The imported car must also carry the condition of "No Sale" for the time periods of two years, which shall be endorsed by the Indian Customs Authorities on the passport/registration documents at the time of import and by the Regional Transport Authorities when such vehicles are presenter for registration in India.
Import of passenger cars / jeeps / multi utility vehicles etc
The conditions mentioned for import of new and used motor vehicles is not applicable for the import of passenger cars/jeeps/multi-utility vehicles etc and all these vehicles may be imported in India after the payment of full custom duty and fulfilling the following requirements.
- Individuals coming to India for permanent settlement after two years' continuous stay abroad provided the car has been in possession of the individual for a period of minimum one year abroad.
- Resident Indians presented with a car as an award in any international event / match / competition.
- Legal heirs/successors of deceased relatives residing abroad;
- Physically handicapped persons;
- Companies incorporated in India having foreign equity participation;
- Branches/offices of foreign firms;
- Charitable/Missionary/Religious institutions registered as per the law relating to the registration of the societies or trusts or otherwise approved by the Central or State Government.
- Honorary Consuls of foreign countries on the recommendations of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
- Journalists/Correspondents of foreign news agencies having accreditation certificate with the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.
The DGFT may, however, permit relaxation of these conditions or imports by any other category not listed in this Public Notice in special circumstances.
Import Gold and Silver by NRI
Reserve Bank of India has granted general permission to persons of Indian nationality or origin to bring into India a limited amount of gold and silver. However, import of gold and silver is govern by certain rules and regulation and are given in detail below.
Import of Gold
A NRI who has been residing in a foreign country for over one year and is returning to India may be allowed to import jewellery without paying any custom duty in his use up to an aggregate value of ten thousand rupees in the case of a male passenger. In case of a female passenger, an individual can import gold of up to rupees twenty thousands.
If the amount of gold imported exceeds the import duty free range, then the custom duty charges an amount of Rs. 250 per 10 gms of gold. Even in such a situation, an individual is only permitted to import a maximum of 10 kg of Gold as a part of their baggage after paying the required customs duty. It should also be noted that that these facilities is given only to those passengers who is coming to India after a stay abroad of about six months.
Gold may be brought into India in any form, including ornaments; however, a declaration is needed to be filled by the importer for obtaining the permitted quantity of gold from customs bonded warehouse of State Bank of India or from Metal & Mineral Trading Corporation subject to other conditions.
In case where a passenger has declared the gold, but could not clear it for want of sufficient foreign exchange for paying Customs duty, then re-export of the same may be permitted.
A Non Resident Indian can import silver in any form up to 100 kilos at a time provided he is coming to India after 6 months stay abroad. Duty is payable @ Rs. 500/- per Kilo.
Selling of imported Gold and Silver
Gold and silver so brought by NRIs can be sold to residents against payment in rupees. But it should be credited in rupees and credited to Ordinary Non-resident Rupee (NRO) account of the NRI seller.
Custom Bonded Warehouse
This is an option to take delivery of the metals in India from the customs bonded warehouses to be operated by the State Bank of India and the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC)
- Sometimes physical carriage of gold involved security hazards, particularly for passengers arriving by flights landing at odd hours during nights, it was thought fit to introduce Customs Bonded Warehouses.
- This facility would be operated by SBI and MMTC in Delhi, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram and specified delivery centers.
- Passengers availing of this facility would have the option to make the payment for the gold in foreign exchange either abroad or in India.
- In cases where passengers had made the payment abroad and were found ineligible for import on their arrival in India, appropriate provision for refund would be provided under the scheme.
- Passengers intending to avail of the facility of delivery of gold through such warehouses would be required to make a declaration to this effect before the customs authorities at the time of their arrival in the country at the respective airports – Sahar, IGI Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram.
- The eligibility of the passengers would be decided by the customs authorities at the time of customs clearance of the passengers and such passengers would deposit the duty at the airport itself.
Custom Clearance of Imported Goods
All goods imported into India have to pass through the procedure of customs for proper examination, appraisal, assessment and evaluation. This helps the custom authorities to charge the proper tax and also check the goods against the illegal import. Also it is important to note that no import is allowed in India if the importer doesn’t have the IEC number issued by the DFGT. There is no requirement of IEC number if the goods are imported for the personal use.
Bill of Entry
A Bill of Entry also known as Shipment Bill is a statement of the nature and value of goods to be imported or exported, prepared by the shipper and presented to a customhouse. The importer clearing the goods for domestic consumption has to file bill of entry in four copies; original and duplicate are meant for customs, third copy for the importer and the fourth copy is meant for the bank for making remittances.
If the goods are cleared through the EDI system, no formal Bill of Entry is filed as it is generated in the computer system, but the importer is required to file a cargo declaration having prescribed particulars required for processing of the entry for customs clearance.
In the non-EDI system along with the bill of entry filed by the importer or his representative the following documents are also generally required:-
- Signed invoice
- Packing list
- Bill of Lading or Delivery Order/Airway Bill
- GATT declaration form duly filled in
- Importers/ CHA’s declaration
- License wherever necessary
- Letter of Credit/Bank Draft/wherever necessary
- Insurance document
- Import license
- Industrial License, if required
- Test report in case of chemicals
- Adhoc exemption order
- DEEC Book/DEPB in original
- Catalogue, Technical write up, Literature in case of machineries, spares or chemicals as may be applicable
- Separately split up value of spares, components machineries
- Certificate of Origin, if preferential rate of duty is claimed
- No Commission declaration
Amendment of Bill of Entry
Whenever mistakes are noticed after submission of documents, amendments to the bill of entry is carried out with the approval of Deputy/Assistant Commissioner.
Green Channel facility
Some major importers have been given the green channel clearance facility. It means clearance of goods is done without routine examination of the goods. They have to make a declaration in the declaration form at the time of filing of bill of entry. The appraisement is done as per normal procedure except that there would be no physical examination of the goods.
Payment of Duty
Import duty may be paid in the designated banks or through TR-6 challans. Different Custom Houses have authorised different banks for payment of duty and is necessary to check the name of the bank and the branch before depositing the duty.
Prior Entry for Shipping Bill or Bill of Entry
For faster clearance of the goods, provision has been made in section 46 of the Act, to allow filing of bill of entry prior to arrival of goods. This bill of entry is valid if vessel/aircraft carrying the goods arrive within 30 days from the date of presentation of bill of entry.
Import of goods under specialized scheme such as DEEC and EOU etc is required to execute bonds with the custom authorities. In case failure of bond, importer is required to pay the duty livable on those goods. The amount of bond would be equal to the amount of duty livable on the imported goods. The bank guarantee is also required along with the bond. However, the amount of bank guarantee depends upon the status of the importer like Super Star Trading House/Trading House etc.
Bill of Entry for Bond/Warehousing
A separate form of bill of entry is used for clearance of goods for warehousing. Assessment of this bill of entry is done in the same manner as the normal bill of entry and then the duty payable is determined.
Import Drugs and Medicine
Import of Scrap and Waste Products.
Under the Exim Policy 2002-2007, following list of items are allowed to import in India without any license or certificate.
- Any form of metallic waste, scrap or any defective item which is far below their original price.
- Any material that does not contain any kind of hazardous waste or radioactive element in it.
- Waste paper material.
- Woolen Rags or shoddy wool in completely mutilated form.
- PET bottle waste.
- Import of any kind of old ships, which are now not in use can also be done in India under the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Shipping.
For the import of metal scrap, from a country involve in any kind of war or rebellion activities, following documents are required from the exporters side.
- Pre-shipment inspection certificate from a reputed inspection or certification agencies as mentioned in the Handbook of Procedure Volume-1 to the effect that
- The consignment does not contain any type of arms and ammunition or radioactive waste.
- Imported item must be a metallic waste or scrap as per internationally defined parameters.
- Contract agreement between the importer and the exporter does not contain any kind of arms, ammunition, mines, shells, cartridges, radioactive waste or any other explosive material in any form.
Import of Laptops and Personal Computers
According to the new rules, a person of 18 years of age and has stayed more then 3 days overseas can get a laptop to India duty free as a part of baggage. However, it should also be noted that an individual can only
Laptops or any other goods of high value taken out from India by a passenger while going abroad can be imported again into India free of duty provided the passenger had received an export certificate from the Customs in respect of that particular item while going abroad.
Import of Second hand computers etc
The Government of India exempts second hand computers and computer peripherals including printer, plotter, scanner, monitor, keyboard and storage unit from the whole of duty and additional duty of customs liable thereon under the First Schedule of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51 of 1975), when received as donation by
- A School run by the Central Government or, Government of a State or, a Union territory or, a local body;
- An Educational Institution run on non-commercial basis by any organization;
- A Registered Charitable Hospital.
- A Public Library.
- A Public Funded Research and Development Establishment.
- A Community Information Centre run by, the Central Government or, Government of a State or, a Union territory or, local body.
- An Adult Education Centre run by the Central Government or, Government of a State or, a Union territory or, a local body.
The import duty for bringing laptops into India is zero. However you are limited to 1 laptop per passenger.For the second one, you need to pay customs duty.
Table of Contents
Dos and Don't Dos in Imports.
- Open LC or import transactions only for customers and open only if the party has got sanction limit.
- Allow import of restricted items as per procedure laid down in the Exim Policy.
- Handover import documents only to drawee or his PA holder against property acknowledgement.
- Allow payment for import by debit to customer’s account.
- Allow payment for the bills beyond six months and also allow payment of overdue interest on sight bills for a period not exceeding six months.
- Allow payment to local agents on commission basis. In case of overseas agent, allow commission as per FEMA guidelines.
- Verify the imported items under the LC.
- Issue amendments to LC only on the basis of written request.
- Verify whether the payment method in Letter of Credit is done as per FEMA guidelines or not.
- In case of default payment, crystallise the bill on 10th day of the month.
- Allow import provided goods are consigned to bank account opener.
- Insist for insurance cover at the time of opening the LC.
- Allow opening of LC on DA basis provided the Usance does not exceed more than 180 days.
- Allow opening of Transferable LCs provided transfer is restricted to specified second beneficiaries whose credit report is satisfactory.
- Verify the Letter of Credit application form to ensure whether they are properly filled and stamped.
- Report to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) if the bill of entry is not received.
- Sell the imported goods, only after getting permission from ITC authorities.
- Keep one copy of shipping documents, invoice and other papers for future inspection by the custom inspector or the Reserve Bank of India.
- Issue the Letter of Credit if the customer doesn’t have IEC number.
- Open LC without proper transport documents.
- Allow advance payment without proper documentation.
- Forward the documents to third party without permission from the importer.
- Import prohibited or restricted items without import license.
- Allow direct remittance of import bills beyond the limit and without EC copy of bill of entry.
- Open revolving LC without safety clause.
- Amendments to the Letter of Credit for import of those items which is either restricted or prohibited.
- Allow import documents received under collection paid without verifying importers line of business and financial standing.