Export Promotion Councils in India: Steps to register

From being updated with latest export schemes and notifications to organizing trade fairs, export promotion councils
in India act as facilitating agencies in the country's trade business. Know more about their benefits and role in this blog.
export promotion councils of India
India is home to thousands of export businesses that sell a range of products internationally every day. With the export industry growing by leaps and bounds, the government has continued to introduce policies that govern and assist entrepreneurs. This is where export promotion councils come into picture.

What are Export Promotion Councils?

Export promotion councils are facilitating organizations aimed at promoting Indian exports by providing technical support and industry insights. For different product categories, various export councils of India have been established. Currently, there are 26 export councils that promote specific products1. For instance, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), as the name suggests, promotes gems and jewellery exports. Similarly, Council for Leather Exports (CLE) promotes leather exports.

Although each export promotion council has a set of founding principles, there are a few common benefits that sellers can get by registering with these bodies.

What is the role of Export Promotion Councils?

Export Promotion Councils are set up by the Government of India to assist Indian exporters in expanding their businesses to the international markets. The main role of a council is to promote the product category that it handles and support exporters in that industry. This increases the opportunities they get and thus, impact export performance of the economy. While each export promotion council has its own set of benefits, below are some of the common roles:
» Provide information to exporters and members of the council to expand their export businesses in global markets. The council also makes exporters aware of government schemes and other benefits.

» Collecting export and import data of its members as well as other data that is needed for International Trade.

» Organizing trade delegations to explore all trade and export opportunities in international markets.

» Organizing trade fairs, exhibitions, seminars, buyers, and sellers meet to promote export business.

» Establishing communication between exporter community and the government.

» Assisting exporters to understand and interpret export policies and assistance schemes.

» Guiding members on various matters like utilizing GSP, export finance and insurance of goods.

» Collecting and supplying market information to exporters and help them take benefits of export opportunities.

» Issuing Certificate of Origin to Indian exporters for origin of goods.

What are the benefits offered by Export Promotion Council?

Upon registration, the member is granted the RCMC (Registration cum Membership Certificate) of their respective EPC. The RCMC is a license issued by the Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) that permits export and grants concessions under the Foreign Trade Policy. This certificate is valid for 5 years. To obtain an RCMC registration, the exporter first has to make an application to be a member of the FIEO.

2. Access concessions
EPCs help the exporter avail concessions and benefits in Foreign Trade Policy. Some of the most common export incentives schemes are:
- RoDTEP: This is the Remission of Duty or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme that reimburses the Central and state taxes and duties to the exporters.
- Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS): Under SEIS, exporters receive incentives equal to 3%-7% of the total foreign exchange done during the export.
- Duty Drawback (DBK): This scheme reimburses the exporters on central and customs excise duties paid on inputs.

There are a lot of other schemes and export incentives issued by the government in the form of subsidies that reduce export prices. Export incentives can take the form of subsidies (that lower export cost), concessions on taxes and duties and low cost loans.

3. Build business relations:
It helps you meet potential buyers by participating in events organized by EPCs.

4. Stay updated
Get latest updates and trends in your industry and attend informational seminars to explore more.

How to register with an Export
Promotion Council?

Step 1: Choose an Export Promotion Council

Out of the 26 export councils of India, each agency promotes a specific set of products. Depending on the products you export, you can choose an appropriate export promotional council.

Step 2: Submit required documents

While applying to an export promotion council, there is a list of documents that you have to submit.

● A digital signature certificate

● A copy of your Importer-Exporter Code (IEC)
The IEC is a unique 10-digit number that is required to do import-export business in India.

● A certificate from your chartered accountant, verifying your export turnover.
The turnover refers to the Free on Board or Freight on Board (FOB) value in Indian rupees.

● A full list of partners/directors in your export business, along with their residential addresses.

● A cancelled cheque.

● Your MSME registration certificate, if any.

Additionally, different export promotional councils may have their own requirements. For example, a few of them may require documentary evidence (e.g., a certificate from the excise department) of production figures.

Step 3: Submit an application

You have to submit an application to register with your relevant export promotion council. If you are exporting multiple products falling under different export promotion councils, you have to send different applications to each of them.

Step 4: Pay fees

In addition to the documents, you need to pay a fee, which varies with each export promotion council. You can know more about the fees by logging on to the website of the export promotion council. Most export councils of India may charge a nominal membership fee, which also depends on the exports' turnover in the particular financial year.

Step 5: Collect the RCMC

Once admitted into an export promotion council, members receive a Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC). The RCMC makes members eligible for all the benefits offered by the respective export promotion council. Here are a few points to remember:

- You can still continue to export with Amazon without RCMC.
- Attend the regular seminars and take their assistance in market development, because that will help you grow your export business in different geographies.
- If you have to go for multi-product registration with FIEO (Federation of Indian Export organization), you must first learn about it from your export council in India.

How to start an export business from India?

Once you register, you are well-placed to start your export business. As a first step, you should decide your target markets. Get the necessary documentation such as PAN and Importer Exporter Code (IEC). Next, you should find international marketplaces for listing your products online. One of the easiest ways to start exporting is by joining Amazon Global Selling.

Amazon Global Selling enables sellers to start an export business online. Exporters can get access to customers from over 200+ countries and territories by listing their products online. More than 125,000 exporters are successfully exporting with Amazon Global Selling. In addition to providing sellers with access to millions of users on Amazon international marketplaces, the e-commerce exports program also provides fulfilment services for shipping your products internationally.
You can choose to register as a seller in different markets across the globe. The Amazon eligibility criteria does not require any export promotion council membership. However, if you are a member of one, you can add this detail while describing your seller information on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Export Promotion Councils are there in India?
There are 14 EPCs administered by the Department of Commerce.
What is the fee for obtaining an EPC membership?
The registration fee for export promotion council can vary depending on the industry and committee. You can learn more about export promotion councils here.
What are some of the export promotion councils?
EPCs perform both advisory and executive functions, and are registering authorities for exporters under Foreign Trade Policy. Some examples are: Apparel Export Promotion Council, Council for Leather Exports, Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council
Are RCMC (Registration-cum-Membership-Certificate) and EPC membership two different documents?
Yes. EPC membership is granted to the exporter as per the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the council. RCMC is granted by the Foreign Trade Policy. Both require different sets of documents and both give different sets of benefits.
Published on April 25, 2021.


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