EXIM Process 101

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1-2-3 EXIM Process

Getting Started with Import and Export Process.

Before we divide deep into the process, it would help us understand what exactly is this business area. Importing and exporting products can be highly beneficial for businesses today. While importing can help small and medium businesses develop and expand by reaching larger markets abroad, exporting can increase the profits of medium and large businesses.

We are going to speak with the context of Import/Exporting of commodities from INDIA.

Let's understand the true benefits that this prospective business. Export and import plays an important role in the growth of any country. With the process of international trade becoming a necessity for every country, the export import field has become very promising and rewarding

Every coin have two sides. Any business model has its pros and cons and import export course in Ahmedabad provides the best service in making your career. Let’s Quickly jump to the points.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” — Colin R. Davis

The Success of Export Import not exactly depends on the scale of business size, for Example: If You are exporting Kesar, you won’t export it in tons of kilograms. Therefore, due to XYZ reasons your Export Import Business Might get affected badly.

Now let’s discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of export

Advantages of Exporting:

  1. Opportunity

    Whenever a new attractive product launches, it just grabs the attention of all the importers and entrepreneurs all over the world. In such times, the opportunity to earn maximum profit from your new ideas and innovation gets higher and your exporting deals turn very profitable. Also suppose any Importing Country has a regular product with no substitute, you can surely put it yours after adding some more good elements in it.
  2. Wide Importers Leads Huge Profit:

    As per the Latest trends and fashion, when even your own country is not accepting your goods then you have other countries as well. This is the significance of Export. Generally other countries import Products in huge quantities only so the profit in Exporting your products is high.
  3. Government Bonus Benefits:

    The Government of India Promotes Exporting the goods and they support maximum exporters in many ways. As importers pay us from different countries than our own countries Growth gets its Benefit.
  4. Reduce Production Cost:

    Another advantage of export is that it reduces the manufacturing cost. When you export a product you export in bulk and producing or manufacturing products in bulk reduce the cost of production.
  5. Build a Global Recognition:

    When you export you, your product are sell to different countries and you make a global brand. Your brand gets global recognition hence people feel the brand more trustworthy. The more people are familiar with your product the more profit you get.

Disadvantages of Exporting:


  1. Foreign Exchange Rate:

    Profit Margins Might get affected due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rate. This really does put a huge negative impact in the long run of export business.
  2. Economic or Political Conditions:

    The Importing Country’s political & economical conditions may not remain the same every time as things keep on changing. So due to negative changes in Importing Country, the exporting business gets affected badly.
  3. Tensions between nations:

    Recently in India, we faced the boycott China trend, though India’s Exports got increased but still in earlier stages there was significant loss for China Exporters.

Advantages of Importing:

  1. Cost Saved

    Reduction in manufacturing cost is a super beneficial point in importing though the dependency arises but the cost gets saved. Importing the products from other nations becomes easy rather than producing it.
  2. Star Importer:

    Importing a unique & new product helps the importer to stand tall in the market. Whosoever imports a well new great product, he becomes the leader in the export import market.
  3. Acceptance:

    While importing quality products, the people genuinely accept the product if the quality is good. Nowadays, the world is changing every day, in the same way if you are changing the fashion or importing different products with good quality then people will surely accept it easily.


Disadvantages of Importing:

  1. Dependency on other countries arises which is not good for both the Exporter and Country’s Growth.
  2. Manufacturers’ mindset gets discouraged.
  3. In Emergency Times of the Country, things get worse.

As i mentioned, there are advantages and disadvantages of mainly everything in life, same goes with Export Import Industry. It all depends on you, whether you have to rock the world or go back losing everything in Export Import.

The Government of India recently took some steps to make ‘Ease of Business’ a more streamlined process. One of the steps was to reduce the number of documents required for import-export. Now, the number of documents you are required to submit for an IEC number is three. 

Before we get into the documentation, you should know that the documents are not the same for all products. However, it is still not difficult to outline the basic documents needed for import customs permission in importing countries. This article will provide you with some broad information on documentation of import/export customs clearances.

Import Export Code (IEC)
Since there are different goods imported from various nations, it becomes a challenge to have a proper set of documents in the import/export customs liberty methodology. Furthermore, different countries have their own laws, resulting in a variety of methods and customs for approving imports. Every item under import and export is ordered under a code number acknowledged internationally, which is called the IEC number. Notably, the IEC number today is your company’s Permanent Account Number (PAN), although people who had applied for an IEC number earlier are allowed to use the old code since the IEC number is valid for life. There may be mutual import/export agreements between the legislatures of various nations. Imports and exports from such nations may have exceptions on documentation for import and export clearance.

Documents Required for Import-Export Customs Clearance

Any commercial cargo, whether it is for import or export, requires customer clearance. Simply put, this means that businesses engaged in exporting and importing goods to and from the country need to clear specific customs barriers as outlined by the government.

The customs clearance process typically involves preparing documents that may be submitted electronically or physically with the consignment. This helps concerned authorities to calculate taxes and duties that will be levied on the cargo.

The type of documents required for customs clearance usually depends on the type of goods being shipped. It may also vary depending on the country of origin and the destination of the cargo. However, as a thumb rule, there are a set of general documents that most businesses need to comply with when importing or exporting goods.

List of Documents required for Exports Customs Clearance

  1. ProForma Invoice
  2. Customs Packing List
  3. Country of Origin or COO Certificate
  4. Commercial Invoice
  5. Shipping Bill
  6. Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
  7. Bill of Sight
  8. Letter of Credit
  9. Bill of Exchange
  10. Export License
  11. Warehouse Receipt
  12. Health Certificates

List of Documents required for Imports Customs Clearance

  1. Bill of Entry
  2. Commercial Invoice
  3. Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
  4. Import License
  5. Certificate of Insurance
  6. Letter of Credit or LC
  7. Technical Write-up or Literature (Only required for specific goods)
  8. Industrial License (for specific goods)
  9. Test Report (If any)
  10. RCMC Registration cum Membership Certificate
  11. GATT/DGFT declaration
  12. DEEC/DEPB/ECGC License for duty benefits

You can understand what these documents mean from their explanation as given below.

Pro Forma Invoice
The Pro Forma Invoice documents the intention of the exporter to sell a predetermined quantity of goods or products. This invoice is generated as per the outlined terms and conditions agreed upon between the exporter and the importer, through a recognised medium of communication such as email, fax, telephone or in person. It is similar to a ‘Purchase Order’, which is issued prior to completing the sales transaction.

Customs Packing List
The customs packing list states the list of items included in the shipment that can be matched against the pro forma invoice by any concerned party involved in the transaction. This list is sent along with the international shipment and is especially convenient for transportation companies as they know exactly what is being shipped. Individual customs packing lists are secured outside each individual container to minimise the risk of exporting incorrect cargo internationally.

Country of Origin or COO Certificate
The Country of Origin Certificate is a declaration issued by the exporter that certifies that the goods being shipped have been completely acquired, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country.

Commercial Invoice
A commercial invoice is a mandatory document for any export trade. The customs clearance department will ask for this document first as it contains information about the order, including details such as description, selling price, quantity, packaging costs, weight or volume of the goods to determine customs import value at the destination port, freight insurance, terms of delivery and payment, etc. A customs representative will match this information with the order and decide whether to clear this for forwarding or not.

Shipping Bill
A shipping bill is a traditional report where the downside is asserted and primarily serves as a measurable record. This can be submitted through a custom online software system (ICEGATE). To obtain the shipping bill, the exporter will need the following documents:

  1. GR Forms for shipment to all the countries
  2. Packing list (with various details such as information about the content, quantity, the gross and net weight of each package)
  3. Export License
  4. Indent
  5. Acceptance of Contract
  6. Invoices (with all relevant information such as the number of packages, quantity, price, correct specification of goods, etc.)
  7. Purchase Order
  8. Letter of Credit
  9. AR4 and Invoice
  10. Examination or QC Certificate
  11. Port Trust document

Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading is a legal document issued by the carrier to the shipper. It acts as evidence of the contract for transport for goods and products, mentioned in the bill provided by the carrier. It also includes product information such as type, quantity, and destination that the goods are being carried to. This bill can also be treated as a shipment receipt at the port of destination where it must be produced to the customs official for clearance by the exporter. Regardless of the form of transportation, this is a must-have document that should accompany the goods and must be duly signed by the authorised representative from the carrier, shipper, and receiver. The Bill of Lading comes in handy if there is any asset theft.

Bill of Sight
Bill of Sight is a declaration from the exporter made to the customs department in case the receiver is unsure of the nature of goods being shipped. The Bill of Sight permits the receiver of goods to inspect them before making payments towards applicable duties. Applying for a bill of sight becomes necessary as it acts as a substitute document if the exporter does not have all the must-have information and documents needed for the bill of entry. Along with the bill of sight, the exporter also needs to submit a letter that allows for the clearance of goods by customs.

Letter of Credit
Letter of credit is shared by the importer’s bank, stating that the importer will honour payment to the exporter of the sum specified to complete the transaction. Depending on the terms of payment between the exporter and importer, the order is dispatched only after the exporter has this letter of credit.

Bill of Exchange
Bill of Exchange is an alternative payment option where the importer is to clear payments for goods received from the exporter either on-demand or at a fixed or determinable future. It is similar to promissory notes that can be drawn by banks or individuals. You can even transfer a Bill of Exchange by endorsement.

Export License
Businesses must have an export license that they can provide to customs in order to export or forward any products. This only needs to be produced when the shipper is exporting goods to an international destination for the very first time. This type of license may vary depending on the type of export you intend to make. This can be done by applying with the licensing authority, and the permit is eventually issued by the Chief Controller of Exports and Imports.

Warehouse Receipt
Warehouse Receipt receipt is generated once the exporter has cleared all relevant export duties and freight charges post customs clearance. This is needed only when an ICD in involved.

Health Certificates
Health Certificate is applicable only when there are food products that are of animal or non-animal origin involved in international trade. The document certifies that the food contained in the shipment is fit for consumption by humans and has been vetted to meet all standards of safety, rules and regulations prior to exporting. This certificate is issued by authorised governmental organisations from where the shipment originates.

Bill of Entry
A bill of entry is a legal document to be filled & duly signed by an importer/CHA/carrier. After filing a bill of entry along with the other necessary documents, assessment and examination of goods are carried out by concerned authorities. Once the process is completed, an importer can avail for ITC claim on goods.

Import License
There are certain items that cannot be freely imported in India, an import license is a permission granted by the government to undertake import activities for restricted goods. In order to avail the benefits, one must file an application to the licensing authority.

Insurance certificate
An Insurance Certificate is a document required for import customs clearance. This certificate helps the authorities to verify the shipment, in terms of whether the selling price contains the insurance or not. Also, it helps determine the precise value which eventually decides the import duty aggregate.

RCMC Registration cum Membership Certificate
RCMC is a certificate issued by Export Promotion Councils of India. If an exporter or importer wants to avail any benefits under any schemes governed by FTP or any of the EPCs then he has to submit his RCMC as well at the time of customs clearance.

GATT/DGFT declaration
Every importer has to file a GATT and DGFT declaration while completing customs clearance formalities for imports. It has to be filed as per the terms stated in General Agreement on Tariff and Trade. Following are some of the requirements for filing this document.

  1. Customs Valuation for imported goods subjected to duties & Taxes.
  2. Three copies of the declaration to be maintained
    • two copies are for customs administration
    • and one copy is for the declarant
  3. The Form should be kept with the detailed customs declaration for a period of 3 years
  4. The declarant is obliged to accurately and fully fill the form in detail.

Technical write up, literature
A Technical Write up is a document only required for some specific goods. It describes the features/usage of the product, mostly done for better handling of goods. This helps the authorities to better define the product and understand the value-added cost under it.

Industrial License
An industrial license may be required for importing specific commodities. If an importer wants to avail any import duty benefit, an industrial license can be used as proof to avail the benefit. In this particular case, a copy of industrial license also becomes one of the customs clearance documents required for importing the goods.