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.
22.214.171.12484 Import prohibitions
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
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
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
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
3507 10 99
Other animal rennet
4302 19 40
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: http://dgft.gov.in; and DGFT online information, "Notifications". Viewed at: http://dgft.gov.in, and information provided by the Indian authorities.
126.96.36.19985 Import licensing and restrictions
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.
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Minimum import price
Cashew kernel, broken
Cashew kernel, whole
Betel nuts: whole
Betel nuts: split
Betel nuts: ground
Betel nuts: other than above
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
Retreaded tyres: of a kind used on aircraft
Used pneumatic tyres: for buses, lorries, and earth moving equipment
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
Import is free if c.i.f. value is US$80 and above per square metre
Other building blocks and bricks
Cement tiles for mosaic
Other articles of cement
Articles of cement: prefabricated structural components for building or civil engineering
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: http://dgft.gov.in/ and information provided by the Indian authorities.
188.8.131.5286 Import surveillance
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
184.108.40.20687 Import quotas
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.
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 220.127.116.11).39 The authorities indicate that there were no such instances during 2011-14.
18.104.22.16888 Other import restrictions
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