Import-Export Code: Points to Remember

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By Gunjan Malhotra

Sept. 10 – Using an Import-Export Code (IEC) is mandatory when engaging in importing or exporting activities in India. The IEC is a unique 10 digit code issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade under the Indian Government’s Ministry of Commerce. No person or entity shall engage in import or export activities without an IEC.

There are exemptions granted to the following categories of importers or exporters from obtaining an IEC number:

  • Importers covered by the Foreign Trade (“Exemption from Application of Rules in Certain Cases”) Order, 1993
  • Ministries/departments of the central or state government
  • Persons importing or exporting goods for personal use not connected with trade, manufacture or agriculture
  • Persons importing/exporting goods from or to Nepal, provided the CIF value of a single consignment does not exceed Indian Rs.25,000

An IEC number allotted to an applicant shall be valid for all its branches/divisions/units/factories as indicated on the IEC number.

If an IEC holder does not wish to operate the allotted IEC number, they may surrender the same by informing the issuing authority. On receipt of such intimation, the issuing authority shall immediately cancel the same and electronically transmit it to the director general of foreign trade for onward transmission to the customs and regional authorities.

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