Tariffs and regulations

Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and can change without notice. Austrade strongly recommends you check the current rates before selling to India.

For more information visit India’s Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers


Use India’s Ministry of Finance Customs Duty Calculator to determine import duties.

For more information, read India’s Foreign Trade Policy for 2015–2020 on the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and Development website

Product certification, labelling and packaging


Outer containers should show the consignee and port mark. Number containers in line with the packing list. Gross weight must be shown on the back and the front of the container.


Packaging material should be strong. It should guard against extreme heat and humidity in summer. Steel strapping is recommended to protect against pilfering.

Special certificates

Check with your local Austrade office and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in Australia.

Livestock imports must come with a sanitary certificate issued and certified by an approved authority in the country of origin.

Plants, plant products and leaf tobacco need phytosanitary certificates. These must be issued by an approved authority in the country of origin and certified by an approved organisation.

Leaf tobacco must have a certificate stating that the tobacco is free from Ephestia elutella, or that the country of origin doesn’t have the pest. The Indian government will examine any shipment without a certificate. A fee will be also be charged.

Used clothing requires a certificate of fumigation issued by an approved authority in the country of origin.

Port wine needs a certificate of alcoholic content. Spirits may need a certificate of maturity.

Quoting and payment methods

Quotations are usually needed to show free on board (FOB) or cost, insurance and freight (CIF) prices. Freight and insurance charges are shown separately. They should be in United States or Australian dollars. Quotes to government purchasing agencies should be both FOB and CIF.

Payment is normally made by a letter of credit. For government contracts, terms of 90 days or more are usually requested.


Commercial invoice

No prescribed form is listed. A minimum of 4 copies are needed and must be signed by the supplier in the exporting country. The invoice must show details such as:

  • country of origin
  • consignee's name
  • number and date of letter of credit and import license number
  • terms of payment
  • name of carrier
  • number
  • description and identifying marks of outer containers
  • detailed description of goods including quantity, weight (gross and net), value, shipping charges and insurance


Normal commercial practice applies.

Bill of lading

A minimum of 2 copies of the ‘Bill of Lading’ are usually needed. ‘To Order bills’ are also acceptable.

The bill must include:

  • freight charges
  • quantities in metric
  • import reference number
  • letter of credit numbers are to be shown
  • name and address of the applicant and the issuing bank

Packing list

A packing list is not compulsory, but helps with customs clearance.

Certificate of origin

The local Chamber of Commerce in Australia issues the certificate of origin. Usually 3 copies are needed.

Public health requirements

Live animals, plants, and parts of plants must come with health certificates issued by an approved authority in the country of origin. In Australia this is usually the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Australia). Sometimes it’s the relevant state department of agriculture.

Plants can only be imported through ports where fumigation and inspection facilities are available.

Fruit, vegetables and all foodstuffs must be inspected on arrival.

Food quality and purity are subject to strict national and state regulations. These also cover the use of preservatives, colouring matter, artificial sweeteners, and containers and their marking and labelling.

Stringent controls cover the import, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs. Imported drugs require prior sampling and testing.

Selling and distribution

Before you export to India, you’ll need to make some decisions. There are four main ways to sell your product or service:

  1. direct selling
  2. use local agents or distributors
  3. contractual methods
  4. set up an overseas site

Finding the right representative in-market

It’s important to find the right representative. Someone who is familiar with the local market and can help you find customer and distribution channels.

You can use an agent to sell your product or service. An agent can be an individual or a business.

You can use a distributor, who buys your product from you and sells it on to the end users.

Austrade offers an introductions service where we can help you identify and qualify relevant contacts in the Indian market.