How to Start Import & Export Business in India? Complete Guide

India is a land of opportunities, and one such opportunity that has been gaining momentum in recent years is the import and export business.

With the government’s push towards Make in India and the ease of doing business, the import and export industry is becoming a lucrative option for entrepreneurs. Today, we will discuss import and export business ideas and how to start in India.

Import Business Ideas:

  • Electronics:

With the rise of technology and innovation, electronics is a sector that has immense potential for import. Products like smartphones, laptops, and other electronic gadgets are in high demand in India, making it a profitable business idea.

  • Clothing and Apparel:

India is known for its diverse fashion and clothing industry, but there are still many products that need to be imported to meet the demands of the market. Clothing and apparel from countries like China and Bangladesh can be imported and sold at a profitable margin.

  • Chemicals:

India has a significant demand for chemicals in various industries like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and agriculture. Importing chemicals from countries like China and Japan can be a profitable business idea.

Export Business Ideas:

  • Jewelry:

India’s exports are significantly bolstered by the gems and jewelry industry, which accounts for 12% of the country’s total exports. This sector presents lucrative growth prospects for Indian exporters and has attracted a considerable amount of attention. India exports gems and jewelry to several prominent markets such as the US, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, among other regions.

  • Handicrafts:

India has a rich culture and heritage that reflects in its handicrafts. Products like pottery, paintings, and sculptures are in high demand in foreign markets, making handicrafts a profitable export business idea. Indian exporters can leverage the existing demand for home décor in markets such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Italy, Dubai, and more to establish and expand their export business.

  • Spices and Condiments:

India is known for its unique and diverse range of spices and condiments. Exporting spices like turmeric, cumin, and cardamom to countries like the USA, Europe, and Japan can be a profitable business idea. To succeed in the spice business, it’s essential to assess the demand for various spices in popular markets and identify a product-market fit that aligns with your business goals.

  • Textiles:

India is the second-largest producer of textiles globally, making it a lucrative export business idea. Products like cotton, silk, and jute fabrics are in high demand in foreign markets. In order to support textile exporters, the Government of India has introduced various schemes and Export Promotion Councils such as WWEPC, AEPC, and TEXPROCIL.

  • Leather:

India’s leather industry is experiencing significant growth and thousands of sellers from the country are exporting leather products worldwide. Leather products are manufactured and exported in large quantities from various regions across India, including TN, Telangana, WB, and J&K.

Import Export Business in India

How to Start Import & Export Business in India?

If you want to start a business in India, you have to take care of several things and follow a certain set of rules. The easiest, most profitable, and most lucrative business in India is the “Import and Export” Business. It is a budding category in the business and has managed to gain immense popularity in recent years.

The Import-Export business is the best way to become an entrepreneur because it is comparatively profitable, requires no specific experience, will allow you to create a huge network, and then let you bring a great deal of investment to the country as well.

Apart from entrepreneurs, several other professionals prefer investing in an Import-Export business rather than other businesses. Moreover, with an Import-Export business, you have the prestige of working with different clients from across the world.

Import Export businesses play an important role in shaping the country’s economy as well as keeping our purchase-selling habits in check. Moreover, with the growing e-commerce sector, it is easy to sell/buy and connect with sellers or buyers from anywhere in the world easily.

If you have been interested or want to start an import-export business, then keep reading. We will guide you through the basics of starting an Import-Export business. There are different types of import & export businesses.

These can be listed as follows:

Export Trading Business: These businesses or companies operate by looking out for local or domestic sellers that can provide International buyers with their needful supplies.
Export Management Company: These companies facilitate exports by connecting the sellers and buyers. They hold the operation together on behalf of the export company.
Import and Export Agents: These Import Export agents buy from sellers of International markets and then sell it in local markets or vice versa.

Starting an Import Export Business:

To start an Import Export business, you have to follow a certain set of steps. Some of the important steps you have to follow are:

How To Start Import Export Business


Decide the Name:

It might seem irrelevant to you at first, but then deciding on a unique name for your Import and Export Company is an important task. A unique and easy name will help people remember and identify the products of your company with ease.

After you decide on the name, register your company under the same name under the Companies Act of 2013. You must also make sure that you get your company name along with your company logo trademarked!

Register your company:

Consult a legal advisor to help you guide through the registration process. It is important that you take the right steps, and get your company registered at the earliest. Here is the list of documents required to register your company:

Personal or company PAN card
Photo of the applicant
A canceled cheque from the company’s current bank account
A copy of the rent agreement or electricity bill of the premise

Get a PAN card for your business:

You must make sure you get a PAN card for your business. You can apply for a new PAN card for your business or use your PAN card for the same. This will help you maintain the finances of the company and avoid any income tax compliances.

Obtain the Export-Import License:

 To start your Import Export business you will have to obtain an Export-Import License that is termed as Import Export Code or the IEC. You can apply for the same online or reach out to your legal advisor for guidance. The IEC is issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

Obtain the RCMC:

The last step or another important step towards starting an Import Export business is obtaining the RCMC or the Registration Cum Membership Certificate. Moreover, there are approximately 26 Export Promotion Councils that are supposed to issue RCMC to the respective applicant.

There are a lot of opportunities for growing your Import Export business. Take risks, and remember that this type of business serves as an excellent way to create a network and has a major impact on India’s economy. It is a lucrative business and will allow you to make your name in the International market.


The import and export business is a promising venture for entrepreneurs in India, provided they have the necessary knowledge, expertise, and resources. By discussing import and export business ideas and answering frequently asked questions, we hope to have provided a basic understanding of the import and export industry in India. Do let us know if you have any further questions in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Question:

Ques: What are the documents required for import and export in India?

Ans: Import Export Code (IEC), Commercial Invoice, Certificate of Origin, Insurance Certificate, etc.

Ques: How can I start an import or export business in India?

Ans: To start an import or export business in India, you need to register for an IEC code and obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations from the DGFT. You also need to research the market and identify profitable products for import or export.

Ques: How to succeed in the import-export business?

Ans: Building a network of suppliers and buyers, and investing in logistics and infrastructure, can help you succeed in the import and export business.

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