• Starting Your Export Business - Step 6: Leverage The Export Promotion Councils

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    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.

    Below are some of the facilities and advantages offered by FIEO to Indian exporters:

    • FIEO can provide a Registration cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) and a Certificate of Origin, both of which are important documents for any export house.

    • FIEO regularly organizes exhibitions within India and overseas that consist of seminars, sessions and programs for the benefit of exporters and export promotion in general.

    • The exhibitions also focus on untapped markets by promoting FIEO’s Market Development Assistance scheme.

    • For the benefit of new entrepreneurs and export managers, FIEO organises export orientation programmes which provide information on matters that might affect foreign trade.

    • FIEO provides an online platform for buyers and sellers—some of whom might be non-members of FIEO—to interact with each other.

    • FIEO members have global reach via tie-ups with more than 75 Chambers of Commerce from across the world, offering invaluable information, insights and marketing support.

    • FIEO has dedicated initiatives to provide guidance in expanding business in lucrative markets like Europe.

    You can find an application form for FIEO membership here.

    RCMC and FIEO -- what you need to know

    The RCMC is a certificate issued by FIEO as well as Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), and is mandatory to enjoy various benefits extended under India’s Foreign Trade policy. The RCMC is also required for availing benefits from Customs and Central Excise authorities. For registration purposes, the Government of India has also recognized FIEO as an export promotion council.

    While applying for the RCMC you have to declare your main line of business. In case you export multiple items, you can apply for a multi-product registration. If you don’t wish to obtain an RCMC, you can still enjoy some benefits under Foreign Trade Policy by enrolling for FIEO membership in the Individual Exporter category.

    Export Promotion Councils (EPCs)

    EPCs 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.

    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. 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:

    List of Export Promotion Councils

    Name Product Website
    Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Agricultural Products & Processed Foods link
    Apparel Export Promotion Council Apparel link
    Basic Chemicals Pharmaceuticals & Cosmetic Export Promotion Council Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Cosmetics link
    Carpet Export Promotion Council Carpets link
    Cashew Export Promotion Council of India Cashews link
    Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council Chemicals link
    Coffee Board Coffee link
    Coir Board Coir Products link
    Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council Cotton and Cotton Goods link
    Council for Leather Exports Leather & Leather Goods link
    Engineering Exports Promotion Council Engineering Goods link
    Electronics & Computer Software Export Promotion Council Computer Software link
    Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts Handicrafts/Handicraft Goods link
    Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council Gems & Jewellery link
    Handloom Export Promotion Council Cotton Handloom Fabrics/Home Textiles/Garment Accessories link
    Indian Silk Export Promotion Council Silk & Silk Goods link
    Jute Manufacturers Development Council Jute Goods link
    Marine Products Export Development Authority Marine Goods link
    Project Exports Promotion Council of India Civil & Engineering Projects link
    Plastics Export Promotion Council Plastic & Plastic Goods link
    Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council Powerloom Fabrics & Made-ups link
    Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council Pharma Products link
    Rubber Board Rubber & Rubber Goods link
    Services Export Promotion Council Services link
    Shellac Export Promotion Council Veg Saps & Extracts link
    Spices Board Spices & Condiments link
    Sports Goods Export Promotion Counil Sports Goods link
    Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion COuncil Synthetic Fabric & Madeups link
    Tea Board Tea link
    Tobacco Board Tobacco and tobacco goods link
    Wool & Woolen Exports Promotion Council Wool & Woollens link

    EPCs are purely advisory in nature and they provide their services to members who pay an annual subscription fee. The membership fee of RCMCs varies across EPCs and commodity boards. Memberships may also have different categories including Lifetime Membership, Individual Ordinary Membership, Corporate Membership, and others.

    Some benefits of EPCs might be product-specific, yet as a whole, EPCs can offer the following:

    • Provide commercially-useful information and assistance to develop and increase your exports.

    • Technical support in matters like product development, technology upgradation, quality, design improvement, etc.

    • Coordinate overseas visits of members to explore new markets.

    • Organize and coordinate participation in exhibitions, trade fairs and buyer-seller meets all over the world.

    • A knowledge base that is a repository of trade-related information and data.


    • 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.

    Raghav Khajuria
    Raghav Khajuria
    Leads Marketing activities for Drip Capital.
    7 min read