Logistic and forwarding services in India


Capital City
New Delhi

1,25 Mrd.

National languages
Hindi, English

Indian Rupee(INR)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 1’876 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 1’499

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 1’742 Mio

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 1’615 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–India

Switzerland’s good, close and dynamic relations with India are reflected in a large number of agreements and treaties and also in frequent, high-ranking diplomatic visits. Economic and scientific cooperation are becoming more important.

Economic cooperation

India is a priority country for Swiss foreign economic policy. It is Switzerland’s third largest trading partner in Asia, and its first in South Asia. The Indian market represents a great potential for the Swiss economy in fact, particularly because of its considerable growth.
Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, visited India in May 2015. The Joint Economic Commission of the two countries meets regularly to discuss economic issues, most recently on 14 May 2015 in Delhi. A financial dialogue between tThe State Secretariat for International Financial Matters initiated dialogue on financial matters withand the Indian Ministry of Finance in 2012has been taking place since 2012. The European Free Trade Association and India have been negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement since 2008.
In 2015, exports to India increased by 6.6% compared to last yearamounted to CHF 2.0613 billion, while imports fell by around 10%reached CHF 1.464 billion. Switzerland is one of the ten largest investors in India. According to the Swiss National Bank, Swiss direct investment in India amounted to CHF 4.5 billion at the end of 20154. Some 250 Swiss companies have a presence in India, either in the form of joint ventures or branches of their own company. The number of jobs created through Swiss direct investment in India stood at about 100,’000 at the end of 2015.


Business language


Dimensions and weights

Metric system (Indian and British systems still in use.)


National currency Indian Rupee (IR) = 100 Paise (P.).
ISO code: INR

Customs tariff

Harmonised system; customs clearance based on the transaction value.

Import control

Goods may only be brought into the Indian customs area via customs roads, customs ports or customs airports set out in Indian customs legislation. India has introduced an Import Export Code (IEC), which must be indicated on all documents. This can be stated by the Indian importer, who must fundamentally be registered with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) with an Import Export Code to register with customs. Import is broadly liberalised. Import licences are only still required in very rare cases, except for goods mentioned on the Negative List of Imports. The Negative List of Imports is divided into three sections:

1) Prohibited items (absolute ban on import): including fats, oils and tallow of animal origin with a few exceptions, tea and bees.

2) Restricted items (import licences required): authorisation from the higher authorities is required before the import licence will be granted (e.g. medications from the health authorities).

3) Canalised items (can be imported to a limited extent; monitoring and control of import by certain, mostly state commercial organisations, import licences required): some petroleum products and petrol, various artificial fertilisers, certain oils of plant origin for food and other purposes, some oil seeds, rice and grain (with the exception of maize for feed), some spices (e.g. cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves).

There are some goods outside of the Negative List of Imports that can also only be imported with an import licence. These include vehicles, ships, spirits, tobacco products, newspapers and the seeds of pulses.
Consulting with the Indian importer is recommended in the case of any doubt.
There should always be a discussion with the Indian importer in the case of chemicals as some chemicals either cannot be imported or can only be imported to a restricted extent or are subject to special regulations.
There is a partial embargo on goods from Iraq and Libya.
The licence is generally valid for 24 months. The validity of the import licence can be up to 36 months for Project Imports. Goods may not be shipped before the licence is valid or after it expires. Goods must be registered within 45 days of unloading.
In principle three fees are levied on import: the basic customs duty with ad valorem duty as a percentage of the customs value, additional duties of customs e.g. central excise duty on the customs value increased by the duty amount.
Standard VAT rate: 12% to 15%
The Indian government has thus far only introduced full convertibility of the Indian Rupee for foreign trade transactions (only for business transactions). The import and export of Indian Rupee notes and coins is in principle prohibited. The import of foreign currencies is permissible to an unlimited extent. Foreign currencies may only be exchanged with state-recognised entities.
State export guarantees for short-term = transactions with credit terms of a maximum of 360 days are possible.


ISO certification is desired, a high value is placed on compliance with the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) standard in the domestic market. Where applicable additional LSCO standards (for military purposes) or CACT (telecommunications) standards may need to be complied with.

Terms of payment and tenders

Deliveries should only be confirmed on provision of an irrevocable letter of credit confirmed by a bank. Avoid payment in the form of documents against payment or a bill of credit where possible. In the case of deliveries of capital goods, partial payment in advance is also possible. Invoices in EUR. Prices are generally given in USD/EUR on a CIF/FOB basis.
All documents in English with extensive specialist information. Ten to twelve copies of invoices (including appendices) should always be submitted.

Designations of origin

In general, goods from Swiss must have a designation of origin. If the size and nature of the goods enables this then this should be on the goods themselves, if not it should be on the packaging of the goods.


Marking with “Made in …” on boxes, labels and similar and the goods themselves is recommended in any case. Markings should be clearly visible. There are special labelling regulations for foods, electronic items and information technology.
More information is available from the competent authorities. Obtain precise information from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and request instructions from the importer.


Shock-proof packaging; use of the IPPC standard ISPM no. 15.

Product samples

Product samples can be imported duty free up to a value of INR 10.000. Samples must be labelled and these goods must be sent by post or by courier service via airmail. For product samples which are free of charge and are imported at the initiation of an Indian export company, there is an exemption limit of INR 100.000 or 15 units. Shipment form as mentioned above. Use of the ATA Carnet for exhibition and trade fair goods. Sending the Carnet in advance to the association FICCI, which is based in India, is recommended to accelerate completion of this procedure. Where possible indicate the Indian import customs office.

Shipping and accompanying documents

India has introduced an Import Export Code (IEC), which must be indicated on all documents. The code number must be requested by the Indian importer. Standard and

a) Commercial invoices (3 copies) in English with all standard information; CIF value and CIF costs must be indicated; indication of the import licence number and country of origin. The following declaration is recommended: “We declare that the invoice shows the actual price of the goods described and that all particulars are true and correct.”

b) Certificates of origin are generally required. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE.

c) Bills of lading without certification. Order bills of lading are possible with an indication of a notify address.

d) Postal packages up to 20 kg (only 10 kg to Bhutan): place 1 international dispatch note, 1 customs declaration in English and 1 commercial invoice in the package, send 2 commercial invoices to the recipient.

e) Packing lists in English if the shipment is made up of several boxes showing the content of each box.

f) Certification fees if certification by the embassy is necessary, provide in cash/by cheque on submission (ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the level of these).