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Import procedure and duty

An understanding of import duty is extremely important for businesses which are contemplating import of articles manufactured in other countries. Note that if the businesses utilize imported articles for export, a significant component of the import duty may be refunded or waived off in the manner authorized explained in Part II, heading e. titled “Incentives available to exporters under customs law”.

Note that certain changes have been introduced to the import process as per the Finance Act 2011.


a. Types of Import Duty

Import duty is imposed under several heads:

1.Basic customs duty - basic customs duty is listed under the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. See here.

2.Additional duty (countervailing duty or CVD) on imported articles is equivalent to excise duty for similar articles produced in India. It is levied to place imported articles on par with domestic articles.

3.Special additional customs duty - This duty is levied at the rates specified by Central Government, to place a tax equivalent to value added tax and local duties leviable on a similar article produced in India.

4.In rare cases, the following duties may also be imposed:

  • Anti-dumping duty – Sometimes, a foreign exporter may export a product at a price which is cheaper than its sale price in the home market. This can cause injury to domestic industry. Anti-dumping duty is typically levied on an article whose price after export is lower than its normal sale price in the country where it was produced, to offset the difference and bring it on par with the price in its home country.
  • Safeguards duty – Can be levied on imports of those articles which may threaten or cause serious injury to domestic industry.

    b. Calculation of import duty

Import duty on a particular item can be calculated as per Schedule I of the Customs Tariff Act. The schedule lists out import duty on articles as per the Harmonized System of International Tariff Classification (ITC(HS)) (each item has an eight digit code under the system), and is available here.


In order to calculate import duty, you should check if any anti-dumping duties are available by going through the index of anti-dumping duty notifications (accessible from the above link).


Next, check if any exemption notifications are applicable to the articles (you can view exemption notifications from the link above).


Alternately, you can also visit the Customs Duty Calculator on the e-commerce portal of the customs department (known as ICEGATE), on the link.



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