In today’s global economy, the import and export of goods and services are an essential aspect of many businesses. To participate in international trade, businesses must comply with various regulations, including obtaining an Import and Export Code (IEC). In this article, we will discuss what an IEC is, its importance, and the process of obtaining one.
What is an Import and Export Code?
An Import and Export Code (IEC) is a unique 10-digit code issued by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to businesses engaged in importing and exporting goods and services from India. It is also known as an Importer Exporter Code (IEC) or Exporter Importer Code (EIC).
The IEC is a mandatory requirement for businesses involved in import and export activities, and it serves as a registration certificate for these businesses. It is valid for a lifetime and does not require renewal or any other form of maintenance.
Why is an IEC Important?
An IEC is a crucial document for businesses involved in international trade as it serves as proof that they are registered with the government and authorized to engage in import and export activities. Some of the other important reasons why an IEC is important are:
- Legal Requirement: An IEC is a legal requirement for businesses involved in import and export activities, and failure to obtain one can result in penalties or even prosecution.
- Availing Benefits: Several benefits and exemptions are available to businesses with an IEC, such as duty drawback, export promotion schemes, and access to international markets.
- Opening Bank Accounts: Banks require an IEC for opening accounts for businesses engaged in international trade.
- Customs Clearance: An IEC is necessary for customs clearance of goods at ports and airports.
Benefits of Import and Export Code: An Overview
In today’s global economy, businesses need to engage in international trade to remain competitive. To participate in international trade, businesses need to obtain an Import and Export Code (IEC). An IEC is a unique 10-digit code issued by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) that serves as a registration certificate for businesses involved in importing and exporting goods and services from India. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of having an IEC and how it can help businesses engaged in international trade.
Access to International Markets
One of the most significant benefits of having an IEC is that it enables businesses to access international markets. By having an IEC, businesses can participate in global trade and reach customers in different parts of the world. An IEC also provides businesses with credibility in the global market, which can help them establish a reputation and build relationships with international customers.
Exemption from Certain Taxes and Duties
Businesses with an IEC can avail of various exemptions from certain taxes and duties. For example, businesses can apply for duty drawback, which allows them to claim a refund of the customs and excise duties paid on imported goods that are subsequently exported. This can significantly reduce the cost of doing business and make exports more competitive in the global market.
Access to Export Promotion Schemes
The government of India offers several export promotion schemes to businesses engaged in international trade. These schemes are designed to incentivize businesses to increase their exports and help them compete in the global market. Businesses with an IEC can apply for these schemes and take advantage of the benefits they offer. Some of the popular export promotion schemes include the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS), and the Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme (EPCG).
Ease of Customs Clearance
Customs clearance can be a time-consuming and complicated process, particularly for businesses that are new to international trade. However, businesses with an IEC can benefit from streamlined customs clearance procedures. An IEC serves as proof that the business is registered with the government and authorized to engage in import and export activities. This can help expedite the customs clearance process and reduce the time and effort required for businesses to clear their goods.
Access to Bank Accounts
Banks require businesses engaged in international trade to have an IEC to open accounts. An IEC serves as proof of the business’s legitimacy and ability to engage in international trade. Banks also use the IEC to verify the business’s creditworthiness and assess their risk profile. Therefore, having an IEC can make it easier for businesses to access finance and manage their cash flow.
Brand Building and Credibility
Having an IEC can also help businesses build their brand and establish credibility in the global market. By having an IEC, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to international trade and their ability to comply with various regulations and standards. This can help businesses build a reputation for quality and reliability, which can be a significant competitive advantage in the global market.
Process of Obtaining an IEC
The process of obtaining an IEC is relatively straightforward and can be completed online. The steps involved in obtaining an IEC are:
- Determine Eligibility
The first step in obtaining an IEC is to determine whether you are eligible for one. Any business or individual involved in import or export activities is eligible to apply for an IEC.
- Gather Required Documents
To apply for an IEC, you will need to gather the following documents:
- Proof of identity of the applicant (PAN, Passport, etc.)
- Proof of address of the applicant (Aadhaar Card, Voter ID, etc.)
- Bank account details of the applicant
- Passport size photograph of the applicant
- Submit Application
Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can submit your application for an IEC online through the DGFT website. You will need to fill out the application form and upload the required documents.
- Pay Fee
After submitting your application, you will need to pay the IEC fee, which is currently set at Rs. 500. You can pay the fee online through the DGFT website.
- Receive IEC
After the fee is paid, the DGFT will process your application, and if everything is in order, they will issue your IEC within 2-3 working days. The IEC will be sent to your registered email address.
Renewal of IEC
An IEC is valid for a lifetime and does not require renewal or any other form of maintenance. However, if any changes are made to the information provided in the original application, such as a change in the business name or address, the IEC holder must update the information with the DGFT.
In conclusion, an Import and Export Code is an essential document for businesses engaged in international trade. It serves as proof that the business is registered with the government and authorized to engage in import and export activities. The process of obtaining an IEC