How to Start Import Export Business in India?

New entrepreneurs entering the world of exports will likely have a thousand questions, ranging from the documents required to the legal guidelines they must adhere to. This bit-by-bit guide will take you through the different exercises you really want to do to get your import-export business going – right from picking the best kind of plan of action, to choosing the right business sectors and purchasers, to setting up your last documentation and preparing to transport your most memorable request.!

Every business needs a minimum amount of investment and so does import-export business in India too. You need to pay the fees for the registration of your business and setting up the business flow. You can also benefit from one of the government schemes designed for exporters. Exporters can also get various loans at low-interest rates. They can also strike up a post-payment deal with a supplier or a pre-payment deal with a buyer to keep the business flow going.

Documents Need to Start an Import-Export Business

  • A PAN Card can be requested.
  • Select the category of business entity.
  • Set up a current account
  • Set up IEC import-export code (EC Code)
  • Select your export item.
  • Moreover, decisive is your Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC)
  • choosing the appropriate export market
  • Identifying Markets for Your Product
  • Don’t forget to organize your funds.

A Step-by-Step Manual to Start an Import-Export Business

  • Analyze The Market’s Viability
  • Get a Business Pan Card
  • Register Your Business
  • Get a Business Bank Account
  • Obtain an Import-Export Code (IEC)
  • Select the Product You Want to Export
  • Identify Buyers For Your Products
  • Establish Your Financial Projections
  • Hire an eCommerce Shipping Company
  • Contact a Customs Clearing Officer

 Analyze the Market’s Viability

As every nation has a few exceptional assets/items that can be traded, simultaneously there are things that can be imported. You need to explore what you can export to the needy country and in exchange for what you can Import.

Exploration and market your item in the most potentially productive manner to guarantee it lands in the proper market. The country should be one where your product is in great demand and sells well. It is necessary to use a marketing strategy since competition is very high, and you cannot expect that you will have different buyers for every product.

Therefore, it is important to understand who you are selling to and how these customers are attracted to your products to tap their needs, wants, and desires successfully.

Because of the many risks involved in importing and exporting goods, new exporters and importers should be aware of several factors before setting up their businesses such as demand for the product, profitability, trade Barriers, political environment, etc.

Register your type of Business Entity

register your type business entity

For starting an export-import business, one first needs to decide the form your business will take depending on the structure of ownership. This involves selecting a business name to represent your company in the marketplace.

You can form a Sole Proprietorship firm, a Partnership firm, an LLP, A Private Limited Company, or A Public Limited Company.

Get a Business Pan Card

The purpose of PAN card registration for a business is to keep track of an organization or business’s taxes and financial transactions. If you are going to import and export goods, you need to get a PAN Card for your import-export business. The Income Tax Department issues the PAN Card that acts as proof of authority in imports and exports.

Get a Business Bank Account

Having a separate account can help you keep track of your business expenses and revenue stream — making it easier for accounting and tax purposes. A current account of your business is one of the main components of the import-export business.

To open a business bank account, you typically need to provide documentation such as business licenses, articles of organization, and identification. It is the bank account where your business’ funds are deposited, withdrawn, and paid.

It might be used to pay staff and suppliers, access money in an emergency, buy equipment and supplies, take payments from customers, and more.

Obtain an Import-Export Code (IEC)

import export code

The following stage is to get an Import-Commodity Code (IEC) from the Directorate General of Unfamiliar Exchange (DGFT).

The IEC code (10-digit code) is a significant business identification number issued by the DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade) with lifetime validity. The Director General of Foreign Trade requires you to submit supporting documents accompanying an IEC code application form.

Select the right Product You Want to Export

right product you want export

Your business strategy should be based on the right product selection. You should keep in mind many factors like the current state of international markets and regulations, trends in exports, etc.

However, international markets are complicated, and staying caught up in the right product or region is important. It would be best if you also considered trends in exports and regulations and the current state of international markets.

But don’t rush into anything: learn more about your competitors’ products and their prices before making a decision. Then factor in demand and profit margins to determine if this is the right product choice for your import-export business.

Identify Buyers for Your Products

After deciding on the product and market, the next step in your business plan is to work out how to identify buyers for your export products.

You can do various things to generate potential buyers for your products, such as developing an e-commerce website, registering on buyer-seller websites, taking part in trade fairs and exhibitions, and so on.

Numerous entrepreneurs wrongly imagine that they can find clients first and the market will follow.

Arrange for Logistics

arrange logistics

Once the terms have been agreed upon, you need to arrange for logistics. This includes transportation, customs clearance, and insurance. Perhaps the most complex aspect of importing and exporting is the logistics of taking a product created somewhere and selling it somewhere else.

You can use a freight forwarder or shipping agent to handle the logistics for you. This can remove a lot of the headaches associated with starting an import/export business in an international trade market.

Establish Your Financial Projections

It is crucial to begin by estimating the financial needs of your company. After that, you need to determine what financing for imports & exports will best fit your particular import-export venture.

Short-term and long-term finance options can be accessed through government subsidy programs, as well as private loans and other options available in India.

Contact a Customs Clearing Officer

It can look a little daunting at first to get started with import-export therefore, it is advisable to contact a customs clearing officer who will help you get acquainted with getting stuff cleared at ports, transportation charges, customs duty charges, and other things involved with the import-export business.

The best thing you can do is contact a customs clearing officer who will help you get acquainted with all the different steps involved in importing and exporting—from getting stuff cleared at ports, transportation charges, customs duty charges, and other things involved with the import-export business.


Import and export of goods and services will always be an encouraging business, and will always help in opening up new avenues for you and for your country. The extent of business potential in the global market shouldn’t be underestimated. The world is shrinking, and a simple import-export business model can create wealth for anyone with vision, perseverance, and acumen. Follow these steps, and you should be ready to start your journey into the world of international trade.

Good luck.

Also Read: How to Start a Business in India in 2023?

Frequently Asked Questions

Que. Which product is most exported from India?

Ans. Many foreign markets are heavily dependent on India for importing certain goods to their countries. India’s top export products contain petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, motor cars, jewelry, sugarcane, etc.

Que. How much does an export license cost?

Ans. Government Fee: According to the DGFT’s latest notification, the government fee for an IEC code application is ₹500, which needs to be paid by the applicant entity at the time of application. The payment can be done online via Credit/Debit Cards, UPI, or Net banking.

Que. What are the top 10 import items in India?

Ans. India’s top import products contain Mineral fuels including oil, Gems, precious metals, Electrical machinery, equipment, Machinery including computers, and Organic chemicals. Several foreign trade markets are majority dependent on India for importing specific goods from several growing countries.

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