Trade policy review report by the secretariat

  Import prohibitions, restrictions, and licensing

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3.1.8  Import prohibitions, restrictions, and licensing

              1. Import restrictions may be imposed under Section 3 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992 and through notifications in the Official Gazette, under Section 11 of the Customs Act 1962, declaring the importation or exportation of any good as prohibited or restricted. Import restrictions may be imposed for security, self-sufficiency, balance-of-payments, health, and moral reasons.  Import prohibitions

              1. Import prohibitions are mainly for health and safety reasons and include a range of products such as meat and offal of most wild animals, animal fats, and ivory and ivory powder. During the period under review, fatty liver (foie gras) (under HS02074300) was added to the list of goods subject to import prohibition (on 3 July 2014) in view of animal welfare (Table 3.8).27

              2. Imports of some products from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Somalia are prohibited under UN resolutions.28 Imports of rough diamonds from Venezuela are prohibited. For sanitary reasons, India has continued to ban imports of milk and milk products from China.29

Table 3.18 Import prohibitions, 2014

Exim Code

Item description

0207 43 00

Fatty livers, fresh or chilled

0208 90 10

Other meat and edible meat offal, fresh, chilled or frozen of wild animals

0209 10 00

Of pigs

0209 90 00


0410 00 10

Edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included of wild animals

0504 00 31

Guts of other animals for natural food casings of wild animals

0504 00 41

Guts other than for natural food castings of wild animals

0504 00 51

Bladders & stomachs of wild animals

0505 10 10

Feathers of a kind used for stuffing; down of wild birds

0505 90 21

Other feather (excluding for stuffing purpose): of wild birds

0505 90 31

Powder and waste of feathers or parts of feathers: of wild birds

0505 90 91

Skins and other parts: of wild birds

0506 10 11

Bones, including horn-cores, crushed: of wild animals

0506 10 21

Bone grist: of wild animals

0506 10 31

Ossein: of wild animals

0506 10 41

Bones, horn cones & parts thereof, not crushed: of wild animals

0506 90 11

Bone meal of wild animals

0506 90 91

Other: of wild animals

0507 10 10


0507 10 20

Ivory powder and waste

0510 00 91

Ambergris, castoreum, civet and musk; cantharides; bile, whether or not dried; glands of wild animals

0511 91 10

Fish nails

0511 91 20

Fish tails

0511 91 30

Other fish waste

0511 99 21

Sinews and tendons of wildlife

0511 99 92

Bovine embryo - of wildlife

1501 10 10


1501 20 00

Other pig fat

1501 90 00


1502 10 10

Mutton tallow

1502 10 90


1502 90 10

Unrendered fats

1502 90 20

Rendered fats or solvent extraction facts

1502 90 90


1502 00 30

Rendered or solvent extraction fats

1502 00 90

Other fats of bovine animals, sheep or goats, other than those of Heading 1503

1503 00 00

Lard stearin, lard oil, oleostearin, oleo-oil and tallow oil, not emulsified or mixed or otherwise prepared

1504 10 99

Other fats and oils and their fractions, of fish or marine mammals, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified

1504 20 30

Sperm oil

1504 20 90

Other fats and oils and their fractions of fish, other than liver oils

1504 30 00

Fats and oils and their fractions of marine mammals

1506 00 10

Neats foot oil and fats from bone or waste

1506 00 90

Other animal fats and oils and their fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified

1516 10 00

Animal fats and oils and their fractions

1517 10 10

Margarine of animal origin

1517 90 30

Imitation lard of animal origin

1518 00 40

Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their fractions, boiled, oxidized, dehydrated, sulphurized, blown, polymerized by heat in vacuum or in inert gas or otherwise chemically modified, excluding those of Heading 1516: inedible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils of this Chapter, not elsewhere specified or included -Other

1522 00 10


1522 00 20

Soap stocks

1522 00 90


3507 10 11

Microbial rennet: animal rennet

3507 10 19

Other enzymes; prepared enzymes not elsewhere specified or included

3507 10 91

Animal rennet

3507 10 99

Other animal rennet

4302 19 40

Tiger-cat skins

4303 10 10

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories of wild animals covered under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

4303 90 10

Other articles of fur skin of wild animals covered under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972


Telephone sets, including telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, including apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network (such as a local or wide area network), other than transmission or reception apparatus of Heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528

9601 10 00

Worked ivory and articles of ivory

a Residues resulting from the treatment of fatty substances or animal or vegetable waxes.

Source: Department of Commerce (2010), Schedule 1: Import Policy, Foreign Trade Policy 2009 2014, incorporating Annual Supplement, 23 August. Viewed at:; and DGFT online information, "Notifications". Viewed at:, and information provided by the Indian authorities.  Import licensing and restrictions

              1. India applies import licensing requirements in accordance with the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992 and Foreign Trade (Regulation) Rules 1993. Licensing requirements may be eliminated without legislative approval.

              2. The Import Policy Schedule list items that are restricted and items that are restricted with a condition. Restricted items require a specific import licence issued by the DGFT. Restricted items subject to conditions require import permits (e.g. sanitary and phytosanitary permits) in addition to the specific import licence. All licence requirements are non-automatic. Under the current Import Policy Schedule (Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14), including supplements, some 445 tariff lines at the HS eight-digit level are subject to import restrictions. They represent around 3.9% of total tariff lines. Some 347 tariff lines are restricted while some 98 are restricted subject to conditions (Chart 3.3).

              3. All importers holding a valid IEC number may apply for a licence. Applications for import licences are made to the DGFT or to the regional licensing authority of the DGFT.30 The requirements for filing applications for import licences are published in the Handbook of Procedures.31

              4. Licences are valid for 18 months and may be revalidated for six months by the licensing authority on merit; the imported material must be used by the importer and cannot be sold.

              5. The DGFT or an authorized office may, in writing, refuse to grant, renew, or suspend a licence to import (or export) on specific grounds.32

              6. Licence application fees vary according to the c.i.f. value of imports.33 Fees are not refundable. The goods imported under a licence cannot be exported without the written permission of the DGFT.

              7. On 28 November 2014, India eliminated import restrictions on gold (implemented in June and July 2013), which involved a requirement that 20% of imported gold be held in a bonded warehouse for export purposes (20:80 scheme), and that gold imports be allowed only to meet the genuine needs of the exporters of gold jewellery.34

Chart 3.5 Import licensing by HS section, 2014-15

% of HS section

Source: WTO Secretariat calculations, based on online information taken from the Directorate of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

              1. Imports of certain goods such as cashew kernel (HS 08013210 and 08013230)35, areca nuts (HS 0802 80)), and marbles (HS 25151100 and 25151210 – from 20 November 2014)36 are subject to import restrictions depending on their import price (Table 3.9). These imports are restricted (i.e. subject to a licence) when the c.i.f. price is lower than the minimum import price.

Table 3.19 Items whose import is free, subject to minimum import price, 2014-15

HS code


Minimum import price


Cashew kernel, broken

Rs 288/kg


Cashew kernel, whole

Rs 400/kg


Betel nuts: whole

Rs 110/kg


Betel nuts: split

Rs 110/kg


Betel nuts: ground

Rs 110/kg


Betel nuts: other than above

Rs 110/kg


Crude or roughly trimmed marbles

Import policy of rough marbles and travertine blocks for the year 2014-15 has been notified with a quota of 0.8 million tonne and a minimum import price of US$325 per tonne.


Marbles - merely cut, by sawing or otherwise, into blocks of a rectangular (including square) shape


Retreaded tyres, of a kind used on motor cars, lorries, bigger size



Retreaded tyres: of a kind used on buses or lorries, vehicles and light commercial vehicles

US $175/unit


Retreaded tyres: of a kind used on aircraft

US $175/unit


Used pneumatic tyres: for buses, lorries, and earth moving equipment



Used pneumatic tyres: for passenger automobile vehicles








Tiles, cubes, and similar articles

Marble tiles

Marble tiles

Marble monumental or building stone

Marble, travertine, and alabaster

Other calcareous stone

Import permitted freely (maximum thickness of slab 20mm) provided c.i.f. value is US$60 and above per square metre





Granite blocks or tiles


Other stone


Import is free if c.i.f. value is US$80 and above per square metre







Cement bricks

Other building blocks and bricks

Cement tiles for mosaic

Other articles of cement

Articles of cement: prefabricated structural components for building or civil engineering

Concrete boulder

Other articles of cement


Source: Department of Commerce (2010), Schedule 1: Import Policy, Foreign Trade Policy 2009 2014, incorporating Annual Supplement, 23 August. Viewed at: and information provided by the Indian authorities.  Import surveillance

              1. India does not maintain any mechanism to monitor imports of items that are considered to be sensitive; such a mechanism was discontinued by April 2012.37  Import quotas

              1. India maintains import quotas for marble and similar stones (HS 25151100 and 25151210)38 and for sandalwood (HS 44039922). Quotas are established annually and administered on an MFN basis. There is no maximum limit to be allocated per applicant. Applications are examined upon receipt and assessed according to the criteria stated in the notifications and circulars issued by DGFT on a yearly basis.

              2. India may impose quantitative restrictions by notification in the Gazette of India on imports of goods that are deemed to cause serious injury to domestic industry, as a result of a safeguard investigation (section The authorities indicate that there were no such instances during 2011-14.  Other import restrictions

              1. Certain items, including new motor vehicles and second-hand cars (less than three- years old40) must be imported through specified ports (Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai for new vehicles and Mumbai for second-hand cars). Imported cars must meet certain technical regulations.41

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