Trade barriers

Government authorities

What government office handles complaints from domestic exporters against foreign trade barriers at the WTO or under other agreements?

The Department of Commerce, which is part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, handles complaints against trade barriers.

Complaint filing procedure

What is the procedure for filing a complaint against a foreign trade barrier?

No procedures have been laid down for filing a complaint against a foreign trade barrier. However, the government maintains a database of non-tariff trade barriers, typically in the nature of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical-barriers-to-trade measures in force in other countries against exports from India. If exporters are of the opinion that measures maintained by a member are adversely affecting India’s trade interests, usually the trade association representing the exporters brings the matter to the notice of the Ministry of Commerce, which may then decide to investigate the issue further and engage in bilateral discussions with the concerned member. In other cases, depending on the severity of the problem, the government may decide to initiate WTO dispute proceedings against the concerned member.

Grounds for investigation

What will the authority consider when deciding whether to begin an investigation?

See question 16.

Measures against foreign trade barriers

What measures outside the WTO may the authority unilaterally take against a foreign trade barrier? Are any such measures currently in force?

As a responsible member of the WTO, India refrains from taking unilateral measures to seek compliance from members maintaining trade barriers.

Private-sector support

What support does the government expect from the private sector to bring a WTO case?

Usually, WTO cases are supported by government funds and no formalised system exists for the private sector to support WTO litigation. Depending on the facts of the case, the private sector or trade association may make source studies and data available that may be required to support its case.

Notable non-tariff barriers

What notable trade barriers other than retaliatory measures does your country impose on imports?

Most imported goods fall under the open general licence category, which means that there is no requirement to obtain any kind of permit or licence to import such goods. However, where necessary, the government may require the obtaining of a permit or licence from the appropriate government authority before making imports. Examples of goods that require prior import licences are certain copper alloys, zinc waste and scrap, radio and television transmitters, communications jamming equipment etc. There are certain products that require a prior no-objection certificate, subsequent to which an import permit is issued by the DGFT. As an example, in the case of the import of certain telecoms equipment, the DGFT issues an import permit only if the importer has obtained a no-objection certificate from the Department of Telecommunications.

Indian Customs does not impose any import trade deposit requirements.