From finding buyers to understanding markets to accessing subsidies and incentives, there are several functions that may be daunting for a new exporter. 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 promotor should register under a certain EPC as per their line of product.
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 also recognized FIEO as an export promotion council.
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 benefits 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.
An exporter has to apply to the appropriate EPC as per his product. On being accepted the exporter will receive his RCMC. To apply to an Export Promotion Council you’ll need the following documents:
Digital signature certificate
Copy of Import-Export 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 Apparel Export Promotion Council has two separate RCMCs—one for merchants and one for manufacturers. RCMC is also issues 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:
|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 Exports Promotion Council||Engineering Goods||EEPC|
|Electronics & Computer Software Export Promotion Council||Computer Software||ESC|
|Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts||Handicrafts/Handicraft Goods||EPCH|
|Gem & 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|
|Plastics 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|
|Services 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 Board||Tobacco and tobacco goods||Tobacco Board|
|Wool & Woolen Exports Promotion Council||Wool & Woollens||WWEPC|
Be aware of export activities that 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.