India’s import and export system is governed by the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act of 1992 (full text) and India’s Export Import (EXIM) Policy. Imports and exports of all goods are free, except for the items regulated by the EXIM policy or any other law currently in force. Registration with regional licensing authority is a prerequisite for the import and export of goods. The customs will not allow for clearance of goods unless the importer has obtained an Import Export Code (IEC) from the regional authority.
The Indian Trade Classification (ITC)-Harmonized System (HS) classifies goods into three categories:
Goods not specified in the above mentioned categories can be freely imported without any restriction, if the importer has obtained a valid IEC. There is no need to obtain any import license or permission to import such goods. Most of the goods can be freely imported in India.
Directorate General of Foreign Trade has started operationalizing online filing of Importer Exporter Code (IEC) applications, online processing and issue of e-IECs in digital format. Now new entrepreneurs/exporters/importers can apply online for issue of new IEC from the comfort of their home/IT Kiosk with no more visits to the Regional Authority’s office required, and upload the documents and pay the required fee through Net banking.
Even the processing of such applications by Regional Authority of DGFT would be done online (no paper work in the office; less storage space required and no misplaced documents) and the digitally signed e-IEC (no more IECs in physical form) would be issued/emailed to the applicants within two working days.
In case the application is incomplete or otherwise ineligible, the same shall be rejected and an auto generated Rejection letter/email (with reasons for rejection) would be sent to the applicant – within two working days only. There would not be any ‘Deficiencies letters’ now (no more discretion at the level of RAs and consequent elimination of possible delays and corruption).
Efforts are underway to allow/enable payment of fee through Debit/Credit cards, which would further facilitate this process. Once implemented the Online system would be made mandatory. However, till such time payment through Debit/Credit cards is enabled, the existing offline/manual system has also been allowed side by side, in order to facilitate those applicants who do not have Net banking facility.
Efforts are also underway for message exchange/integration of our system with Income Tax department and Ministry of Corporate Affair for verification of PAN and DIN/CIN details respectively. Once implemented, this would further reduce the processing time of e-IEC applications at RA level (possibly one day only).
This is an important and path breaking initiative by Department of Commerce/DGFT towards “Digital India” vision of Prime Minister of India and “Ease of Doing Business”.
Processing Time: 14 Working Days