Chopra Associates, Import and Export Procedure - Shipping Agents in Delhi
Regulations & Procedures
All imports now fall into one of the following four categories:

1.Freely importable items; Most capital goods fall into this category. Items in this category do not require import licences and may be freely imported by any individual or entity.

2.Licensed imports; Certain items can be imported only with licences and only by actual users. The current "negative list" of items in 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 electronical items; several items reserved for production by the small-scale sector; and 17 miscellaneous or special-category items. In April 1993 the government ended licensing requirements for several agricultural items, including prawns, shrimp and poultry feed.

3.Canalised items; Items under this category can be imported only by specified public-sector 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).

4.Prohibited items; Only three items-tallow fat, animal rennet and unprocessed ivory-are completely banned from importation.

Import Restrictions : Licensing, Quotas and Prohibitions


Import approval is based on compliance with procedures whereby specific items may be imported by certain types of importers under certain types of licences. Importers are divided into three categories for the purpose of import licensing:

1. Actual users; An actual user applies for and receives a licence to import any item or an allotment of an imported item as required for his own use, not for business or trade in that item.

2. 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.

3. Others.
The two types of actual user licence are:

General currency area licences which are valid for imports from all countries, except those countries from which imports are prohibited;
2. Specific licences which are valid for imports from a specific country or countries. Aside from the types of licences listed, the Open General Licence is perhaps the most liberalized type of licence available for certain items and certain types of importers.

Licences are valid for 24 months for capital goods and 18 months for raw materials components, consumable and spares, with the licence term renewable. Import licences may be obtained from the director general of foreign trade ( Office of Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, Ministry of Commerce, Udyog Bhawan, New Delhi 110011, Tel: 301-7777 ). Traders are advised to consult the Handbook of Procedures which is published by the Ministry of Commerce and is part of the Import and Export Policy for further details


Inspection Customs inspectors have considerable authority and discretion in matters of inspection and valuation of imported items. Any imported goods or parts of any shipment may be examined and tested. Customs officials may require the importer to furnish information or produce any contract, broker's note insurance policy, catalogue or other document to help ascertain the rate of duty or tariff valuation.

Customs officials have the authority to determine whether imports conform to the description in the import licence. Fines and penalties can be severe if imports are unauthorized or if imports contravene control regulations.

Packages and goods can be confiscated if they differ significantly from the description given in documents such as the bill of entry, or if contents of a shipment are wrongly described in terms of value, quality, quantity or if other goods are concealed or mixed with those described in the documents

Packaging & Labeling

Packing and labeling requirements India's ports are mostly located in tropical region, which means special care is needed when packing goods for shipment. Damage may be caused by damp, heat, exposure to sun and rain, insects, fungus and moulds. Therefore, waterproofing of shipments is necessary and use of cases lined with zinc or tin is recommended.

Special attention is needed in packing imported machinery, which may be transported through tropical areas as well as desert areas. Caution is needed when packing to protect against high humidity, dust and sand. There are origin requirements for the labeling of imported merchandise. Labels must indicate the country or place where the goods were produced, or the name and address of the manufacturer.

Labeling should be in English and words indicating country of origin should be as large and as prominent as any other English wording on the package or label. This requirement applies to every article, label or wrapper that has any words in English. There are standards in effect for marking and labeling related to weights and measures for packaged goods imported into India and intended for retail sale.