How to Start an Import Export Trade Business in India


India is a developing country. The import and exports of products and services are vital for the growth of the economy. Indian markets are thriving and have been receiving a lot of international attention. International trade has become a viable and popular business operation. Import and Export Business are companies that exchange goods and services globally. 

Setting an import-export in business has become easier. You need the following documents: -

  • A company registration certificate is a document that shows the company has been registered with the government of India. Your company may be a private limited company, sole proprietorship, partnership or LLP. A lawyer will be able to guide you through the registration process.
  • PAN Card is a digital number that enables you to file you or your company’s tax return. The GOI also monitors tax-transactions through your PAN card number. 
  • Current Account for your business transactions
  • Import-Export Code (IEC) is the import-export license issued by the government. This is a 10-digit code allotted by the Department of Commerce.
  • Registration-cum-Membership Certificate is issued by the Export Promotion Council to an exporter. This certificate shows you export products approved by the government. 

You need to decide what product you will import or export. Once you decide your product you need to find the market to buy or sell your product. You need to provide samples of your product for your international buyers. Your business must work out details about pricing/costing, the price needs to consider all the expenses you incur. Negotiation is a vital part of any business must businesses give generous discounts to your clients. International trade is risky, these risks are protected by Export Credit Guarantee Cooperation Ltd (ECGL). 

An Indian import-export database will be an excellent place to start your market research. The database will be an invaluable guide to your import-export business. It can direct you to potential products, buyers, and sellers. The import-export database is a vital commodity to make your business plan.

India ranks as the 11th largest importer in the world. The country imported 38.61 billion USD in 2019. India’s imports have decreased at a rate of 1.6% from the previous year. The major import partners of India are China, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland.

The major products imported in India are:-

  • Mineral fuel, Oil, and waxes (27% of total imports)
  • Precious and semi-precious stones (14% of total imports)
  • Electrical machinery and equipment (10% of total imports)
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, and mechanical machinery (8% of total imports)
  • Organic Chemical (4% of total imports)

India is the 17th largest exporter in the world. The country exported 27.36 billion USD in 2019. India’s exports decreased from 1.8% from the previous year. India’s important export partners are the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and China. 

India’s top importing companies are:-

  • Jyoti Trading Cooperation
  • Bhabha Export
  • Karla Overseas Ltd
  • NKD Logistics Private Ltd.
  • Lokrit Trading Pvt. Ltd. 

The major products exported from India are:-

  • Pearls, precious stones, and semi-precious stones and jewelry (16% of total exports)
  • Mineral fuel, oil, waxes and bituminous substance (12% of total exports)
  • Vehicle parts and accessories (5% of total exports)
  • Nuclear reactors, boiler, and mechanical machinery (5% of total exports)
  • Pharmaceutical products (5% of total exports)

If you analyze India’s leading exporting companies, you specialize in the petroleum sector. Top manufacturing companies also leading exporters. The top exporting companies in India are: -

  • Reliance Industries
  • Oil and Natural Gas Limited
  • Indian Oil Cooperation
  • Tata Motors
  • Tata Steel

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