How to start import export business in India?

Published On: May 16, 2023Last Updated: Jul 31, 20234.8 min read

To be able to run any business successfully, the first thing you need to do is comply with all the norms applicable to that particular business activity. Since 2022, there has been an exponential growth in the import and export business in India by 23.69%. It is considered as one of the most profitable businesses at the moment. Through this article we will discuss how an individual can start export import business in India and what all processes you need to follow to start import export business. 

Establish a business

To start import export business, the first step is to form a business entity. Either of the following can be a valid business entity to start import export business in India:

You need to choose the most suitable for your business based on the ownership structure, scalability scope, number of employees, etc. Connect with experts, if you’re having trouble figuring out which is the most suitable form to start your import export business in India. 

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Obtain a PAN to conduct import-export business in India! 

Having a Permanent Account Number i.e PAN is mandatory for every registered business in India. Hence, even if you fall under any of the categories mentioned above, you will need to have a PAN card to start import export business in India. 

The process of application for the PAN of a firm/company is similar to the process of applying for an individual. You can apply for a PAN of a company in a few simple steps.

Open a bank account

It is important for business entities to have a separate bank account. This makes it easier to keep a track of all business transactions. The bank account for a business is known as a current account. Hence, once you establish an entity to start your import/export business in India, you need to open an account in its name to be able to initiate transactions. 

Get importer exporter code

Importer Exporter code or the ie code is one of the most basic requirements to conduct a foreign trade in India. Exporters need ie code to send shipments and further to receive money for the shipments. Whereas, importers need the iec code to clear shipments at customs and transfer money to foreign banks. With, you can complete your IEC code application in just a few clicks!

Read More: Import Export Code Registration: Process, fees, status of IEC in India

Registration cum Membership Certificate!

As per the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), all established and other owners wanting to start import export business in India need to have the Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC). Any competent authority can issue the RCMC, on the basis of the Foreign Trade Policy. 

RCMC is required while applying for an import/export license or by applying to avail any other benefits of the Foreign Trade Policy. Hence, before you start import export business in India, you will need a RCMC issued by the competent authority. 

Selection of Products

Once you take care of all the registrations, you also need to figure out what products you will deal with before you start your import export business. The key to starting a successful import and export business is in selecting the right products to import/export. Before starting, you need to consider the state of international markets and trends in regulations, exports, etc.

At present there is a huge market in India for the exports of – 

  • Engineering goods, –
  • Jewelry;
  • Electronic goods; 
  • Rice; 
  • Diamonds; and 
  • Refined Petroleum. 

Hence, before you start import export business in India, you need to select a product on the basis of your business expertise and knowledge. 

Market research to make your import export business unique! 

When anyone starts import export business, they do it with the aim of creating a viable and scalable model. However, for any business to become a viable and interesting business model, it is very important that proper research of its market is done. After selecting any product to start your import export business, you need to do a research of the markets to understand the following: 

  • Demand of your product in the market; 
  • Barriers you might face in trading it (be it import or export); 
  • Scope for profitability; 
  • Political environment; 
  • Climate of the place; 
  • And more

Checking all these factors, which play a major role in making any business successful is known as market research. 

Finding buyers to start import export business in India

A trade is conducted between two parties. When you choose to carry on an import export business in India, you also need to figure out the other party you will be trading with. Which means, as an importer, you need to find out the sellers before you can start importing goods in India. Similarly, as an exporter you need to figure out the perfect buyers for your goods or service.

Get. Set. Go! 

Once you have set everything in order, you can finally start your import export business. If all these registrations are stressing you out, don’t worry! You’re at the right place! Connect with our experts today and we will take care of all your registrations and compliances!! 


To conclude, it is not hard to start import export business in India. Further, the scope of growth increases 10x after you conduct import export business in India and get the hang of it! However, the registrations can create a hassle. Remember that we are a one stop solution for all your registration and post registration compliance requirements! 

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Diksha Shastri
About the Author

Diksha Shastri

As a writer, Diksha aims to make complex legal subjects easier to comprehend for all. As a Lawyer, she assists startups with their legal and IPR drafting requirements. To understand and further spread awareness about the startup ecosystem is her motto.

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