Import / Export

Imports and exports are the two important components of a foreign trade. Foreign trade is the exchange of goods and services between the two countries, across their international borders.Imports imply the physical movement of goods into a country from another country in a legal manner. It refers to the goods that are produced abroad by foreign producers and are used in the domestic economy to cater to the needs of the domestic consumers. Similarly, exports imply the physical movement of goods out of a country in a legal manner. It refers to the goods that are produced domestically in a country and are used to cater to the needs of the consumers in foreign countries. Thus, the imports and exports have made the world a local market. The country which is purchasing the goods is known as the importing country and the country which is selling the goods is known as the exporting country. The traders involved in such transactions are importers and exporters respectively.

In India, exports and imports are regulated by the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, which replaced the Imports and Exports(Control) Act, 1947, and gave the Government of India enormous powers to control it. The salient features of the Act are as follows:-

  • It has empowered the Central Government to make provisions for development and regulation of foreign trade by facilitating imports into, and augmenting exports from India and for all matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.


  • The Central Government can prohibit, restrict and regulate exports and imports, in all or specified cases as well as subject them to exemptions.


  • It authorizes the Central Government to formulate and announce an Export and Import (EXIM) Policy and also amend the same from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette.


  • It provides for the appointment of a Director General of Foreign Trade by the Central Government for the purpose of the Act. He shall advise Central Government in formulating export and import policy and implementing the policy.


  • Under the Act, every importer and exporter must obtain a Importer Exporter Code Number (IEC) from Director General of Foreign Trade or from the officer so authorised.


  • The Director General or any other officer so authorised can suspend or cancel a licence issued for export or import of goods in accordance with the Act. But he does it after giving the licence holder a reasonable opportunity of being heard.


  • As per the provisions of the Act , the Government of India formulates and announces an Export and Import policy (EXIM policy) and amends it from time to time. EXIM policy refers to the policy measures adopted by a country with reference to its exports and imports. Such a policy become particularly important in a country like India, where the import and export of items plays a crucial role not just in balancing budgetary targets, but also in the over all economic development of the country. The principal objectives of the policy are:-
    • To facilitate sustained growth in exports of the country so as to achieve larger percentage share in the global merchandise trade.


    • To provide domestic consumers with good quality goods and services at internationally competitive prices as well as creating a level playing field for the domestic producers.


    • To stimulate sustained economic growth by providing access to essential raw materials, intermediates, components, consumables and capital goods required for augmenting production and providing services.


    • To enhance the technological strength and efficiency of Indian agriculture, industry and services, thereby improving their competitiveness to meet the requirements of the global markets.


    • To generate new employment opportunities and to encourage the attainment of internationally accepted standards of quality.

Besides this Act, there are some other laws which control the export and import of goods. These include:-

  • Tea Act,1953


  • Coffee Act, 1942


  • The Rubber Act, 1947


  • The Marine Products Export Development Authority Act, 1972


  • The Enemy Property Act, 1968


  • The Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963


  • The Tobacco Board Act, 1975

At the central level, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the most important organ concerned with the promotion and regulation of the foreign trade in India. The Ministry has an elaborate organizational set up to look after the various aspects of trade. Within the Ministry,the Department of Commerce is responsible for formulating and implementing the foreign trade policy. The Department is also entrusted with responsibilities relating to multilateral and bilateral commercial relations, state trading, export promotion measures and development and regulation of certain export oriented industries and commodities.The matters relating to foreign trade are dealt with by the following divisions of the Department :-

1. Administrative and General Division
2. Finance Division
3. Economic Division
4. Trade Policy Division
5. Foreign Trade Territorial Division
6. Export Products Division
7. Export Industries Division
8. Export Services Division
9. Supply Division

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