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Top 50 Best Import Export Business Ideas You Can Start in 2017

Do you want to start foreign trade in India? Are you searching for profitable import export business ideas in India? Do you want to know how to start an export-import business in India? Find here a list of 50 most trending items that you can consider in 2017.

In India, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) organization monitors and facilitates the foreign trades. And you have to apply for several registrations and licenses for starting the business legally. Here we have compiled a step-by-step guide for starting the business.

How To Start Import Export Business

  • First of all, establish a business organization. According to the management pattern, form a business entity. Some of the most potential options are proprietorship, LLP, Pvt. Ltd or Ltd Company.
  • Open a current bank account to deal in Foreign Exchange
  • It is necessary for every exporter and importer to obtain a PAN from the Income Tax Department.
  • Then, apply for the IEC code. Basically, this is a 10 digit number which is mandatory for undertaking export/ import. You can submit the application for obtaining IEC Number to the Regional authority of DGFT in form ANF 2A along with the documents listed therein.
  • Finally, apply for the registration cum membership certificate. For availing authorization to import/ export or any other benefit or concession under FTP 2015-20, as also to avail the services/ guidance, you have to obtain RCMC granted by the concerned Export Promotion Councils/ FIEO/Commodity Boards/ Authorities.

Things to Consider in Starting Import Export Business

After getting the necessary permissions and licenses, there are other aspects you will need to consider seriously. Basically, these are related to the business plan and operation.

  • Select The Right Product:

This is the first thing you need to consider very seriously. All items are freely exportable except few items appearing in prohibited/restricted list. After studying the trends of export of different products from India, select the right product for your business.

  • Select The Potential Market:

After selecting the product you have to determine the most potential market. You must do research to know the market size, competition, quality requirements, payment terms etc. Also, you can evaluate the markets based on the export benefits available for few countries under the FTP. Additionally, you can take help of export promotion agencies, Indian Missions abroad, colleagues, friends, and relatives in gathering information.

  • Find Buyers:

After finalizing the product and potential market, you have to find buyers. Generally, participation in trade fairs, buyer-seller meets, exhibitions, B2B portals, web browsing are the effective tools to find buyers. Additionally, you must set up your company website that provides all information about your business. From the website, you can effectively generate leads.

  • Send Samples:

When you start getting inquiries, you have to send the samples first. Providing customized samples as per the demands of Foreign buyers help in getting export orders. As per FTP 2015-2020, exports of bonafide trade and technical samples of freely exportable items shall be allowed without any limit.

  • Fix Pricing:

Product pricing is crucial in getting buyers’ attention and promoting sales in view of international competition. Basically, you have to work out taking into consideration all expenses from sampling to realization of export proceeds on the basis of terms of sale i.e. Free on Board (FOB), Cost, Insurance & Freight (CIF), Cost & Freight(C&F), etc.

  •  Cover Risks Through ECGC

Generally, international trade involves payment risks due to buyer/ Country insolvency. However, you can cover these risks by an appropriate Policy from Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Ltd (ECGC). Where the buyer is placing an order without making an advance payment or opening letter of Credit, it is advisable to procure credit limit on the foreign buyer from ECGC to protect against the risk of non-payment.

Important Links

Small Business Registration In India | Basic Guide

How to Open a Business Account in India – Procedure & Documents

List of 50 Most Profitable Import Export Business Ideas

#1. Activated Carbon from Coconut Shell Export

India is a major coconut producing country globally. And activated carbon from coconut shell is a very established item for foreign trade in India. Basically, activated carbon is an essential product for gold extraction and water purification.

#2. Agrochemical Import

Our country consumes a huge amount of agrochemicals throughout the year. The list includes a wide range of products. You can import the items in bulk and distribute to the local retailers. However, the price is a major deciding factor in this business.

#3. Aluminum Import Export

Aluminum and the related products have got the potential of the both export and import in India. However, the business demands specific licenses and permissions from different Govt authorities. In some cases, you may need to obtain permission from Pollution Control Board.

#4. Animal & Vegetable Fat Import Export

This is an another lucrative segment for foreign trade. However, some of the items under this category are prohibited or restricted in most of the countries. If you are importing any commodity, you need to collect accurate information from necessary government departments of importing country

#5. Bio-chemicals Import

The biochemical import trade sector contributes significantly to the overall GDP percentage in India. This segment includes a wide range of products. However, you have to find out the specific market for the specific items.

#6. Cereals & Pulses Export

The important cereals are – wheat, paddy, sorghum, millet (Bajra), barley and maize etc. India is not only the largest producer of cereal as well as largest exporter of cereal products in the world. India’s export of cereals stood at Rs. 40,433.24 crores during the year 2015-16.

#7. Coffee

India is the third-largest producer and exporter of coffee in Asia and the sixth-largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of coffee in the world. Basically, the country accounts for 4.05% of the global coffee production. Generally, Italy, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Slovenia, Jordan, Australia, Greece, and Poland are the leading importers of Indian coffee.

#8. Copper Import Export

Copper is an element, reddish brown in color, having atomic number 29 and pertaining to the scientific symbol ‘Cu’. The largest copper importing countries of the world include Spain, China, Germany, and the Philippines.

#9. Cotton Yarn & Fabric Export

India has the world’s second largest spinning capacity, commanding a share of the global Cotton Yarn market. India produces a comprehensive range of yarns for every conveyable end use – non-spun or open-end; combed or carded, basic, compact, mélange or fancy. Basically, countries like USA, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. are the major importing countries.

#10. Diamond Import Export

Basically, our country imports the rough dismonds and export the cut and finished diamonds. India is a global diamond polishing hub where 14 out of every 15 rough diamonds in the world are polished. Generally, US and European markets are the major destinations of finished diamonds.

#11. Edible Vegetable Import Export

You can start edible vegetable import export business either as fresh or as chilled. Any importer or exporter of Edible Vegetables and Certain Roots and Tubers should know HTS code (HS code) of the export product. Edible Vegetables and Certain Roots and Tubers falls under HS code (HTS code)chapter 07.

#12. Electronic Component Import

India imports a wide range of electronics component throughout the year. Generally, it includes both end consumer items and industrial items. However, the business demands moderate capital investment and proper marketing strategy.

#13. Electronic Toys Import

Generally, there are usually hot selling toys each year in the world, such as loom bands during 2013-2014, kinetic sand and balancing scooter during 2014-2015. If you can discover the potential of these products and import them earlier than your competitors, then you will already make much money when other people start to sell.

#14. Essential Oil Import Export

Essential oils represent another value added product that can inject some life into the region’s flagging agricultural sector. By definition, an essential oil is any concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds obtained from plants. Such oils are generally extracted by distillation.

#15. Fertilizer Import

Import of urea in the country is restricted and permitted through three State Trading Enterprises i.e. MMTC Limited, State Trading Corporation of India Limited and Indian Potash Limited. Import of all other fertilizers is free and importers are importing these fertilizers under Open General License (OGL) as per their requirements.

#16. Flower Export

The government of India has identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100% export oriented status. Owing to the steady increase in demand of flower floriculture has become one of the important Commercial trades in Agriculture. Floriculture products mainly consist of cut flowers, pot plants, cut foliage, seeds bulbs, tubers, rooted cuttings and dried flowers or leaves.

#17. Glass & Glassware Import

In importing glass and glassware products, the most important is deciding Harmonized System codes (Harmonized Tariff System- HTS) for GLASS and GLASSWARE are mentioned which help you in exporting and importing the glass items.

#18. Guar Export

India is native of guar or cluster bean where it is used as a vegetable. Guar gum is an extract of the guar bean, where it acts as a food and water store. About 90% of guar gum processed in India is exported. There are various grades of Guar gums pure or derivative. Its ability to suspend solids, bind water by hydrogen bonding, control the viscosity of aqueous solutions, forming strong tough films have accounted for its rapid growth and use in various industries.

#19. Handicrafts Item Export

India is one of the major exporter and supplier of handicrafts and gift products to the world market. The Indian handicrafts industry is highly labor intensive and decentralized, being spread all across the country in rural and urban areas. The present day handicraft tradition of India is a perfect example of assimilation between the traditional designs and modern techniques.

#20. IOT Import

IOT stands for internet of things. Basically, IOT can provide significant support to the numerous areas and sectors. These are transport, wellness, healthcare, buildings, home, factories, agriculture, livestock, electric grids, water supply networks, and of course individual consumers.

#21. Iron & Steel Import

In view of rising imports, the Government had earlier raised import duty on most steel items twice, each time by 2.5% and imposed a gamut of measures including anti-dumping and safeguard duties on a host of applicable iron and steel items. In a further move to curb steel imports, the Indian government banned the production and sale of steel products that does not meet Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) approval and to check the sale of defective and sub-standard stainless steel products. however, iron & steel are freely importable as per the extant policy.

#22. Jewellery Export

For jewelry export, you can take help of GJEPC. Basically, The GJEPC is the apex body of the gems & jewelry industry and today it represents almost 6,000 exporters in the sector. With headquarters in Mumbai, the GJEPC has Regional Offices in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat, and Jaipur, all of which are major centers for the industry. It thus has a wide reach and is able to have a closer interaction with members to serve them in a direct and more meaningful manner.

#23. Leather Item Export

The country ranked first among major livestock holding nations in the world and thus has a rich endowment of raw materials in terms of the cattle population. It has the capacity to cater 10% of the global leather requirement. Today, the sector is amongst top 8 export earners for the country and employs around 2.5 million people. A major part (about 60-65%) of the production is in the small / cottage sector.

#24. Machinery Import

Basically, the small-scale manufacturing sector is the backbone of Indian economy. And the machine is the most important part of any manufacturing business. You can start importing machine and machinery parts from the other countries for supplying the domestic entrepreneurs.

#25. Made-up Textile Article Import Export

Basically, made-up textile articles include a wide range of products. The list includes NESOI, needlecraft sets, worn clothing, Rags etc. However, you have to find out the specific HS code for the items.  These codes help exporters and importer all over the world to know product classification code named differently in each country like Schedule B, ITC, HS, HTS, Tariff Code etc.

#26. Meat & Processed Meat Export

India exports about 13,43,607 tons of meat, mostly buffalo meat. Indian buffalo meat is witnessing strong demand in international markets due to its lean character and near organic nature. The recent trend in India is to establish large abattoirs-cum-meat processing plants with the latest technology.

#27. Milk & Milk Products Export

India now has indisputably the world’s biggest dairy industry — in terms of milk production. The dairy sector in the India has shown remarkable development in the past decade and India has now become one of the largest producers of milk and value-added milk products in the world. India’s Export of Dairy products was 33,377.16 MT to the world for the worth of Rs. 754.20 crores during the year 2015-16. In addition, the major Export Destinations United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Nepal.

#28. Mineral Fuels & Waxes Export

Different countries have their own requirements to import waxes, oils, mineral fuels and bituminous substance. However, most of the procedures and formalities are same in all countries. The process and formalities to import waxes, oils, mineral fuels and bituminous substance may differ from one another and in country to country. Also, different procedures and formalities to import each item might be different under import of waxes, oils, mineral fuels and bituminous substance.

#29. Natural Rubber Import Export

Export of rubber is regulated through Registration cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) issued by Rubber Board. As per the EXIM policy, any person applying for a license/certificate to import-export or any other benefit or concessions under Import Export Policy is required to furnish an RCMC granted by the Export Promotion Councils. In the case of Natural Rubber, Rubber Board is the authority to issue RCMC.

#30. Oil Seeds Export

In India, you can take the benefits of Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) for oilseed export business. Besides focusing on exports, the Council also works towards strengthening of the domestic supply chain by encouraging farmers, sellers, processors, surveyors and exporters to enhance the quality of oilseeds in India.

#31. Organic Chemical Import

Basically, the organic chemical sector includes a wide range of products. Our country imports a substantial quantity of organic chemical for the industrial purpose. Some of the most important chemicals are Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, Cyclic hydrocarbons, Acyclic alcohols, caustic soda etc.

#32. Organic Food Export

Organic products are grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible approach. In the last year, the organic food export realization was around 298 million USD. Organic products are exported to European Union, US, Canada, Switzerland, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South East Asian countries, Middle East, South Africa etc.

#33. Pearl Import Export

Basically, you must follow Conditions in accordance with Hazardous Wastes management, handling, and Transboundary movement rules while trading pearls. The demand for fresh and cultured pearls are increasing very fast in the international market. Therefore, starting a pearl import export business is a lucrative opportunity for the entrepreneurs.

#34. Petroleum Product Import Export

Basically, this industry demands substantial capital investment. Additionally, revenue wise this is a lucrative segment too. Some of the most important items are LPG, Kerosene, Gas Oil, Gasoline, Low Sulphur Fuel oil etc.

#35. Pharmaceutical Products Export

In India, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (PHARMEXCIL) facilitates the international trade of pharmaceutical products. Apart from RCMC, you can avail several benefits from the council. Basically, the council facilitates the trade delegations/Buyer-Seller Meetings at abroad. Additionally, it organizes periodical Seminars/Interactive meetings on exports related issues

#36. Plastic Export

The Plastics Export Promotion Council (popularly known as PLEXCONCIL) sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India, represents the exporting community in the Indian Plastics industry.

#37. Processed Food Item Export

Basically, food processing sector is one of the largest sectors in India in terms of production, growth, consumption, and export. The Indian food processing industry is basically export oriented. India’s geographical situation gives it the unique advantage of connectivity to Europe, Middle East, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea.

#38. Pulp or Wood Import

Present import taxes for chemical wood pulp, sulfite, not dissolving grades as per new India Budget. Basically, you have to pay the import tax for waste and scrap of paper or paperboard in India under new Budget 2016-17.

#39. Raw Cashew Export

The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India(CEPC) provides the necessary institutional framework for performing the different functions that serve to intensify and promote exports of cashew kernels and cashew nut shell liquid. Basically, the Council provides the necessary liaison for bringing together foreign importers with member exporters of cashew kernels.

#40. Readymade Garments Import Export

India is the sixth largest supplier of readymade garments in the world with a 3.7 per cent share in global exports. The Government has implemented several export promotion measures, including incentives under the Focus Market Scheme and the Focus Product Scheme, and enhancing the coverage of Market Linked Focus Product Scheme for textile products to increase India’s share in various countries.

#41. Rice Export

Rice (including Basmati and Non Basmati) occupy the major share in India’s total cereals export with 93.60%. The major importing countries of India’s cereals during the last financial year were Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Iraq and Nepal.

#42. Silk Export

Basically, the Indian silk industry is one of the largest generators of employment and foreign exchange for the country. India enjoys a unique global position in terms of production of all commercially useful varieties of silk. The silk products exported include natural silk yarns, fabrics, made-ups, readymade garments, silk carpets and silk waste.

#43. Spice Export

Indian spice has a record of fetching substantial foreign money from the international trade. If you have the strong sourcing line, you can start exporting spice to the foreign countries. Indian spices exports have been able to record strident gains in value.

#44. Sugar Export

The Central Government has decontrolled the sugar sector partially by removing the levy obligation on sugar mills and doing away with the regulated release mechanism on the open market sale of sugar. The export of sugar is now free to subject to prior registration of quantity with Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

#45. Sunflower Seeds & Oil Export

The sunflower is a distinctive, flowering plant (Helianthus annuus L.), the seeds of which contain a valuable edible oil that contains more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil. Most sunflower oil is used in food products. The seeds of confection varieties of sunflower are also sold for human consumption and birdseed.

#46. Tea Export

Indian tea is among the finest in the world owing to strong geographical indications, heavy investments in tea processing units, continuous innovation, augmented product mix and strategic market expansion. Basically, India has a significant share in the international tea market with a 12% share of world tea exports.

#47. Textile Export

Indian textiles and apparels have a history of fine craftsmanship and global appeal. Cotton, silk, and denim from India are highly popular abroad, and with the upsurge in Indian design talent, Indian apparel too has found success in the fashion centers of the world. Total exports for apparels and clothing accessories(knitted), stood at US$ 7.65 billion, growing by 15%.

#48. Tobacco Export

Tobacco and tobacco products generate around US$ 2.9 billion in revenues to the national exchequer by way of excise duty, and around US$ 728.9 million by way of foreign exchange every year. Actually, our country exports tobacco to about 100 countries.

#49. Transport Equipment Import & Export

Basically, India imports Machinery and Transport Equipment include China, Germany, Japan, United States and Korea. The industry is very promising and you can find new technology integration in almost every year.

#50. Woollen Yarn & Fabric Export

India is the seventh-largest producer of wool in the world with a global production share of nearly 1.8%. Basically, the US and the EU are key export destinations for Indian wool and wool-blended products. Indian exporters are geographically diversifying their exports to other regions such as the Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia, and East Asia to increase their footprint globally.

Apart from the list, there are several items that have great potential in the international market. asically, you have to identify the specific market and buyer for the products. We hope, this list of 50 import export business ideas will help you in starting your own business easily.