Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

Background to Import to India

Import to India is governed by the Foreign Trade Act of 1992 which controls India’s exports and imports trade.  Its goal is to facilitate imports into and exports out of India.  These rules and regulations were further simplified by the EXIM Policy of 2002-2007.  

Importing from China to India is a great opportunity given the geographic proximity of the two nations to each other.  For China & India trade resources, visit  

Import to India

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Indian Business Culture & Travel

As an importer who wants to bring goods into India from China (or from any other foreign country), it is important for the foreign party to understand the Indian business culture.  

Overview Import to India Procedures

The following is an overview of the Import to India process.

The vessel, aircraft or ship carrying imported goods to India must enter India only at designated customs port or airport.  For goods entering India by land, the vehicle needs to follow the approved route and visit the approved land customs station for processing.

The person in charge of the transportation vehicle must submit an Import Manifest or Import Report within 24 hours of arriving at a customs location.

The following details are typically provided in this document:

Unloading of the goods is granted once the customs inspector reviews and approves the shipment.  The unloading process can occur only under watchful eyes of a customs officer at designated locations.  Once unloaded, the goods remain in the custody of the port authorities until the amount of duties are paid.   

When the goods are unloaded, a tally sheet is used to accurately count the quantity of goods.  If the quantity is lower than what is reported, an insurance survey is carried out to claim for lost goods.  However, if the quantity of goods is higher than what was reported, then the shipper can pay up to twice the amount in tariff as a penalty.  So it is extremely important to have an accurate count of your shipment.

Import to India Procedures in Detail

Bill of Entry

Bill of Entry must be filed by the imported or the agent representing the importer.  There are three types of Bill of Entry:

  1. Bill of Entry for Home Consumption - This white form is used when the imported products are to be cleared on payment of 100% of the duty for consumption in India.
  2. Bill of Entry for Warehousing or Bond Bill of Entry - This yellow form is used when the imported products are not immediately required by the imported.  Instead, the products are stored in a warehouse under a bond without payment of the duty.  When the goods are required by the importer, full payment of the duties is expected.  This process enables the importer to defer the duty payments.
  3. Bill of Entry for Ex-bond Clearance - This green form is used for clearing the goods from the warehouse and payment of duty.  The value of the goods is assessed at the time of entry through the customs port.  So this Bill of Entry does not fill that role.  Instead, it is used to determine the duty rate, the rate that is applicable when the goods are removed from the warehouse.  This may be different than the rate originally assessed at the time of entry into India especially if the goods have been stored for a long time.

Assessment and Clearance

Submitted documents by the importer or his agent are checked and assessed by the customs officials.  Once approval is granted, the goods are cleared or released.

Provisional (Tentative) Assessment

This may be granted if it is necessary to carry chemical tests on the goods for validation or if the importer does not have the required documents.

Import Control

Bill of Entry is sent to the licensing department to ensure that the importer abides by India's Import Export policy.

Out of Customs Charge

Upon completed of all the above steps, an out of customs order will be issued.  It is only then that the goods can be removed by the importer.

Delay Due to Customs Formalities

Penalties called demurrage are assessed if all the goods are not removed within 3 days of unloading.   The only exception is if the delay is due to the customs formalities and it is not the fault of the importer.  At that point, the customs authorities will issue a certificate indicating that the delay is due to bonafide customs formalities.

Self Assessment of Bill of Entry by Green Channel of import.

Under certain circumstances, the importer may assess the duty by him or herself.   This speeds up the customs process.  These are some of the conditions where self assessment may be permitted.

From the Indian dress code to the English influence, it is vital for your import partner to learn the India Business Culture.

For the foreigners who want to export to India, some India Travel Tips are vital to navigating this diverse land. The country is full of sights and sounds which can be overwhelming to the uneducated foreign traveler.

Real Experiences!

Nameer P, Import from China to India

“It is good to see such a wonderful website.  I wanted to import goods from other countries to India. Your advice was invaluable in getting us started in importing travel goods.“

There are a number of Industries in India which offer some great import opportunities in spite of the Indian government’s Import Substitution policy to reduce the country’s reliance on imports.  Fashion India is a great example of an industry which is full of import opportunities.  Be sure to also check out industries such as India Shoes, Electronics India, Furniture India, and Leather Industry In India.

Once you identify a potential industry and a product to import from China, you will need to determine how to import the product into the India.  More often than not, this will be accomplished through the sea channel.  Shipping to India requires that you know the different major and minor ports and the many shipping companies involved in international trade by sea.