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flag India India: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
uth Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and multilateral and bilateral trade agreements with many countries.
The country has signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
India signed in March 2011 a Tariff-Cutting Trade Treaty with Japan that will eliminate or reduce about 94% of tariffs on the countries’ bilateral trade over a ten-year period.
Non Tariff Barriers
- Import Licensing: Though India has eliminated its import licensing requirements for most consumer goods, certain products like motorcycles and vehicles still require import licenses.
- Anti-dumping and countervailing measures: Such measures are imposed from time-to-time to protect the domestic manufacturers from dumping.
- Export subsidies and domestic support: Several export subsidies and other domestic support is provided to several industries to make them competitive internationally.
- Procurement: The Indian government allows a price preference for local suppliers in government contracts and generally discriminates against foreign suppliers.
- Service barriers: There are still some restrictions for foreign companies to enter some service-oriented sectors like insurance, banking, securities, motion pictures, accounting, construction, architecture and engineering, retailing, legal services, express delivery services and telecommunication.
- Other barriers: Equity restrictions and other trade-related investment measures are in place to give an unfair advantage to domestic companies.

For the most current information on India’s Prohibited Import List, please see:

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
The average customs duty is around 15%.

Though this is relatively high, but as per the WTO commitments India is going to slowly reduce it.

The Central Board of Excise & Customs- CBEC is the apex body for customs matters.

Customs Classification
India uses the harmonized system.
Import Procedures
In case of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): 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 case of non-EDI more documents are also generally required.
Green Channel facility : Some major importers have been given the green channel clearance facility. 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.
For details, visit the website: Central Board of Excise & Customs- CBEC.
Importing Samples
Samples for non-commercial use are allowed in case the goods are 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. However, the Prototypes of engineering goods can be imported even if the value is more than Rs.5000/-.

For Further Information
Central Board of Excise and Customs
India Trade Portal
Asia Trade Hub
SAARC Trade Portal
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Finance
Directorate General of Foreign Trade

Learn more about Traders, Agents in India on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Some Indian consumers are aware of quality differences and insist on world-class products, many customers can sacrifice quality concerns for price reductions. The quality of after-sales service by the seller plays an important role when making a purchasing decision.

Indian consumers are buying trademarks they recognize. In this sense, it is necessary to invest in advertising and marketing to promote its product. Indians are now far more brand conscious, and this is generating demand for some products that were previously unfamiliar.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The dynamism in country’s economy has resulted into an increase in purchasing power and an expansion of the middle class having higher disposable income levels. It is necessary to adapt its product to the portion of the population targeted: the middle class (about 350 million people) will be interested by products which can be found in Western countries, while the working classes is seeking above all commodities for very low prices.
Consumers Associations
India Consumer Association
Main Advertising Agencies
JWT (Hindustan Thompson Associates)
Ogilvy & Mather
Saatchi & Saatchi Pvt Ltd
Mudra Communication

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
There has been a significant expansion in distribution channels in India. The total number of retail distribution outlets in the country is estimated at over 12 million (mostly family-owned businesses).

Most Indian manufacturers use the traditional three-tier selling and distribution structure: redistribution stockists, wholesalers and retailers. However, with the advent of shopping malls in the retail sector, manufacturers are now ready to supply directly to large retail outlets at discounted prices.

India still does not allow foreign direct investment in retailing, so foreign companies need to partner with local companies to enter the market. For more information on FDI & Retail sector, visit the site: Ministry of Commerce.

Market Shares
Indian retail market size is estimated at USD 4.9 billion. It is predicted that it will grow to $7.1 billion by 2016 with an average growth rate of 7.5% annually. Currently, the volume of organized retailing is very small compared to the size of the market.
Organizations in the Retail Sector
Retailers Association of India

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
About 95% of the country’s trade by volume and 70% by value are moved through maritime transport.
India's new international status as IT and manufacturing hub has led to the growth of international air traffic. India has one of the largest road networks in the world, the National Highways (NHs), with a total length of 66 590 km, serve as the arterial network of the country, connecting the State capitals, ports and big cities. In terms of railway, India plans to include 25,000 km of new lines, 12,000 km of double tracks and 30,000 km of multiple tracks. Additionally, 14,000 km of lines will be electrified.
Ports in India: Kolkata, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Ennore, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Kandla
Delhi airport
Kolkata airport
Mumbai airport
Chennai airport
Sea Transport Organizations
Department of Shipping
Shipping Corporation of India
Air Transport Organizations
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
Airports Authority of India (AAI)
Road Transport Organizations
Department of Road Transport and Highways
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
Border Roads Organization (BRO)

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The main sectors are heavy and light engineering, steel, automotive, cement, biotechnology, drugs and pharmaceuticals, food processing, mines & minerals, textiles and fertilizers. Automotive is one of the largest industrial sectors in the country. Food processing sector is another high potential area.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
IEEMA - Database of members of the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers' Association.
Indian plastic directory - Indian plastic business directory.
Manufacturers, Exporters and Suppliers from India - Manufacturers, exporters, suppliers, traders and producers of agricultural commodities and agro food products from India provided by Indiamart.
Plastics Export Promotion Council of India - Directory of Indian plastic industry exports. - India - Directory of companies in India.
E-indiabusiness - Global B2B trade opportunities.
Exporters India - Database of Indian companies, classified by activity (importers, exporters, manufacturers, etc.) - A search engine for companies in India.
Indiamart - Find a business in India.
Indian exporters - List of companies involved in trade between India and Ukraine, provided by the Embassy of India in Ukraine.
Indian importers - List of companies involved in trade between India and Ukraine, provided by the Embassy of India in Ukraine.
Indian Industry - Directory of Indian suppliers.
Indian Yellow Pages - Online B2B database.
InfoDriveIndia Business Directory - Find actual buyers and suppliers from three countries. Export-import customs data.
Trade India - Database of Indian companies.
Ukrainian exporters - List of companies involved in trade between India and Ukraine, provided by the Embassy of India in Ukraine.
Ukrainian importers - List of companies involved in trade between India and Ukraine, provided by the Embassy of India in Ukraine.
Yellow Pages - India's Yellow Pages.
Yellow Pages Online - India's Yellow Pages.
Zipleaf - Business directory for several countries in the world.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
73 professional associations listed for India.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
Ministry of Commerce & Industry
The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India
Enterprises Federation
Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises
The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India
Indian Industries Association (IIA)

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Last Updates: October 2014