From finding buyers to understanding markets to accessing subsidies and incentives, there are several functions that may be daunting for a new exporter. It means that the role of government bodies have an impact on the export performance of the economy. Fortunately, you can get assistance for many of these activities from industry bodies, including government-approved ones called Export Promotion Councils.
Export Promotion Councils are government-initiated authorities that promote and support export firms in developing their overseas trade and presence by providing technical and industry insights. Additionally, EPCs also promote government schemes, act as a data store and conduct overseas tours and studies. They also act as an intermediary between the government and the export industry and are critical in formulating the foreign policies of the country.
These Councils are registered as non-profit organizations under the Companies Act/ Societies Registration Act. EPCs perform both advisory as well as executive functions. Export Promotion Councils are responsible for country’s image abroad as a council of reliable suppliers of high quality goods and services. The EPCs encourage and monitor the observance of international standards and specifications by exporters. Each product has its own Export Promotion Council, hence the promoter should register under a certain EPC as per their line of product.
To provide information which is useful for exporters or its members in increasing their exports, they are supposed to make the exporters aware of the Government Schemes and other benefits.
Export Promotional Council collects export and import data of its members, as well as other data which is relevant to International Trade to build a statistical base to compare industry growth.
They organise Trade Delegations to explore opportunities of exporting products in other countries.
They offer advice to their members related to Technology, quality control, standards and specifications etc.
They organise Trade Fairs, Exhibitions, Seminars, Meets between buyers and sellers to promote business etc.
They are also responsible for promoting communication between Export business community and the Government.
On being admitted the member is granted Registration cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) of the EPC concerned.
For availing export import advantages or concessions in Foreign Trade Policy.
To meet prospective buyers by participating in events conducted by EPCs.
To stay updated about latest trends in the respective industry through the informational events and activities conducted by EPCs for its members.
For example, members of APEDA, an export promotion council which is responsible for promoting export of agricultural and processed foods can avail rebates under its Financial Assistance Scheme on Infrastructural, Quality and Market Development activities undertaken by them.
Also Read: DGFT– Role in Export and Import of India
An exporter has to apply to the appropriate EPC as per his product, for eg. an apparel exporter has to register with AEPC.
On being accepted the exporter will receive his RCMC
Digital signature certificate
Copy of IEC Code certificate
A certificate from a Chartered Accountant, certifying the export turnover figure (FOB value in Rupees)
List of Partners/Directors with residential address
MSME registration certificate (if available)
There is also a fee which is applicable along with the application which varies from council to council, the details of which can be obtained from the respective council’s website. (The links are given below)
Membership to an EPC may also have different categories including Lifetime Membership, Individual Ordinary Membership, Corporate Membership, and others.
If you deal in a product which has an EPC or a commodity board, you can apply for an RCMC at the concerned EPC, which has different RCMCs for various parties. For example, the export RCMC for Apparel Export Promotion Council has two separate RCMCs—one for merchants (i.e. merchant exports) and one for manufacturers. RCMC is also issued by FIEO. To know if your relevant product has an EPC or commodity board, refer to the list below to see the existing 34 Promotion Councils, as of June 2019.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is the apex body of all export promotion organizations and institutions of India. Set up in 1965 by the Ministry of Commerce, the FIEO head office was in New Delhi and its regional offices were across India. FIEO’s primary responsibility is to promote export by providing its services to a network of over 20,000 members including Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Boards, Export Development Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Export Houses, Star Export Houses, Trading Houses, Star Trading Houses, Premier Trading Houses, Consultancy Organisations, Trade Associations, and many more. For registration purposes, the Government of India has authorized FIEO, and considered it as an export promotion council.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Agricultural Products & Processed Foods - APEDA
Apparel Export Promotion Council Apparel - AEPC
Basic Chemicals Pharmaceuticals & Cosmetic Export Promotion Council Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Cosmetics - CHEMEXCIL
Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) Carpets - CEPC
Cashew Export Promotion Council of India Cashews - CEPCI
Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council Chemicals - CEPEXIL
Coffee Board Coffee - Coffee Board
Coir Board Coir Products - Coir Board
Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council Cotton and Cotton Goods - TEXPROCIL
Council for Leather Exports Leather & Leather Goods - CLE
Engineering Export Promotion Council Engineering Goods - EEPC
Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council Computer Software - ESC
Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts Handicrafts/Handicraft Goods - EPCH
Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council Gems & Jewellery - GJEPC
Handloom Export Promotion Council Cotton Handloom Fabrics/Home Textiles/Garment Accessories - HEPC
Indian Silk Export Promotion Council Silk & Silk Goods - ISEPC
Jute Manufacturers Development Council Jute Goods - JMDC
Marine Products Export Development Authority Marine Goods - MPEDA
Project Exports Promotion Council of India Civil & Engineering Projects - PEPC
Plastic Export Promotion Council Plastic & Plastic Goods - PLEXCONCIL
Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council Powerloom Fabrics & Made-ups - PDEXCIL
Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council Pharma Products - PHARMEXCIL
Rubber Board Rubber & Rubber Goods - Rubber Board
Service Export Promotion Council Services - SEPC
Shellac Export Promotion Council Veg Saps & Extracts - SHELLACEPC
Spices Board Spices & Condiments - Spices Board
Sports Goods Export Promotion Counil Sports Goods - SGEPC
Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council Synthetic Fabric & Madeups - SRTEPC
Tea Board Tea - Tea Board
Tobacco Export Promotion Council Tobacco and tobacco goods - Tobacco Board
Wool & Woolen Exports Promotion Council Wool & Woollens - WWEPC
Note: Currently, there are fourteen types of Export Promotion Councils in India.
You can export without RCMC but then you won’t be receiving the quality certificate and other advantages from the government, also be aware of export activities that imperatively require a RCMC.
For multi-item exporters with a head office in the northeastern states, the RCMC can be acquired from the Shellac and the Forest Products Export Promotion Council (with a few exceptions).
Learn all you can about the Market Access Initiative and Marketing Development Assistance scheme of your EPC; they can be very useful to build your business and grow your exports into new geographies and markets.
In case of multi-product registration with FIEO, don’t forget to enquire with your relevant EPC for any additional requirement regarding registration.
Keep checking in with your EPC as some of them may close or get restructured following the planned EPC review by the government.
Pay the membership fee on time, or else you may get deregistered from your RCMC.