Directorate General of Foreign Trade

Directorate General of Foreign Trade

DGFT the official body set up for the implementation of the Foreign Trade Policy for providing licenses to exporters and importers and regulating the import and export trade. It implements various policies and regulations and grants exports and licenses to exporters and introduces them to new and innovative trade incentives, and develops good trade relations with other countries. As per the government, it has become mandatory for every IEC holder to update or confirm the details mentioned in the IEC. 2-In case of non-updating and non-confirmation, the IEC will be deactivated and remain deactivated till further updation by the IEC holder.   

Roles of DGFT  

It has been set up for the execution of import and export policies in India. They are-   

  1. Formulation and implementation of Foreign Trade Policy – DGFT plan and announce foreign trade procedures for exporters. They create and help exporters to execute foreign trade seamlessly in the country.  
  2. Issuance of IEC to importers and exporters – The Import Export Code is a 10-digit business identification number given to all importers and exporters by DGFT. It is only issued based on the PAN number of the business.  
  3. Maintain the IHC-HC codes – To improve the foreign trade policy, DGFT maintains the ITC-HS code as this code helps in selecting respective product categories that the importers and exporters want to sell in foreign countries.   
  4. Export licenses to restrict items – There are some products that are exported from India. To export goods under this category, the exporter must have an export license or permission from DGFT.   

Schemes for Promoting Exports by DGFT  

  1. MEIS: MEIS was introduced in the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) for 2015-2020. This scheme intends to incentivize exports of goods manufactured in India or produced in India. The incentives are exporting goods and industries producing or manufacturing such goods.   
  2. SEIS: Under the SEIS scheme, service exporters for eligible service categories are given benefits in transferable Duty Credit Scripts as a percentage of Net Foreign Exchange earned on the export of eligible services in a financial year. These Duty Credit Scripts can be used for payment of Basic Customs Duty and other duties.  
  3. RoSCTL: This is a Scheme to rebate all embedded state and central taxes for exports of made-up articles and garments. This is the Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies, which is an export incentive scheme for exporters who export apparel from India. This scheme gives duty credit transferable and sellable scripts on the FOB value of export.   

These are some of the schemes under DGFT license for implementing Foreign Trade Policy with the objective of promoting India’s exports which are Duty-free Import Authorization, Deemed Exports Scheme, NIRVIK Scheme, GST refund for exporters, and EOU scheme.  

Licenses and Certifications by DGFT  

This makes the exports easier, and DGFT has initiated paperless transactions; and some of the licenses and certifications initiated by DGFT are-  

  1. IEC – All exporters must have IEC codes and importers in India. It is a 10-digit code, and it is valid for the entire lifetime of the business.   
  2. DGFT license – This has a validity of 24 months for capital goods and 18 months for raw materials.   
  3. e-BRC – Through this, banks can transfer foreign exchange from banks to the DGFT server.  

Certificate of Origin – This is an export document that certifies that the products are being exported and manufactured, and processed.  

Role of IEC Certification  

The Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is a key business identification number which is compulsory for exports or imports. In case of import or export, the IEC shall be required when the service or technology provider is taking benefits under the Foreign Trade Policy or is dealing with specified services or technologies. The DGFT is responsible for formulating and implementing Foreign Trade with the objective of promoting India’s exports. They also issue an authorization to exporters and monitor their obligations through their regional offices.   

Who requires an IEC?  

IEC is required for anyone to start his or her import and export business in the country issued by the DGFT. IEC code is a 10- digit code that has lifetime validity. Importers and exporters cannot import or export without this code, and similarly, the exporter merchant cannot also avail of the benefits from DGFT for the export scheme without IEC.   

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Prerequisite documents to link IEC with DGFT  

If an exporter is registered under DGFT, he requires the following details for modifying or linking IEC  

  1. PAN card of entity  
  2. Registered mail ID for OTP  
  3. Registered mobile for OTP  
  4. Valid address details  
  5. Valid digital signatures token   
  6. Valid Aadhar card for e-sign authentication  
  7. Aadhar linked with phone number for Aadhar e-sign as mentioned on IEC.  

How to link IEC with DGFT website

  • 1. Open the DGFT website and login to your account with your credentials. A new ID has to be created if you do not have an ID and password.
  • 2. On the dashboard, click on the Link IEC button to proceed with linking Import Export Code.
  • 3. Enter your IEC number, which you want to link to your profile in the Importer Exporter field and then click on the option Link IEC.
  • 4. With a click of the Link IEC button, the IEC number is validated, and a new window is opened in a pop-up for digital signature requests. Enter the PAN details and name as per PAN and date of birth.
  • 5. You may proceed to sign with any of the options, such as –
  • · In case of individual- Aadhar e-sign /DSC
  • · Other than individual- DSC signature
  • 6. After this, click on Continue, and you will be redirected to the Aadhar verification website. Enter the Aadhar number of the individual and enter the OTP you got on your mobile.
  • 7. Submit the same, and you will receive a confirmation on your registered email id for the same.


IITSWEB is the Chief Business Development Officer at IITSWEB, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is a Member of the Magento Association and an Adobe Sales Accredited Magento Commerce professional. Jan is responsible for developing and leading the sales and digital marketing strategies of the company. He is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughout the years his articles have been featured on Retail Dive, Hacker Noon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.

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