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Governance Structure for Exports

Governance Structure for Exports

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is entrusted with the responsibility of managing commercial activities in the Indian economy. The Department of Commerce under the Ministry formulates, implements and monitors Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which provides a framework of policy and strategy for the promotion of exports and trade. It is periodically reviewed to incorporate changes necessary to take care of emerging economic scenarios, in the domestic as well as international economy. Additionally, the department is also entrusted with responsibilities relating to multilateral and bilateral commercial relations, Special Economic Zones, state trading, export promotion and trade facilitation, and development and regulation of certain export oriented industries and commodities.  

In this article, we introduce you to the different administrative and governance structures that help facilitate and make decisions related to exports.

Figure 1: Exports Governance Structure

Attached Offices

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)

The DGFT is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with its headquarters at New Delhi, is responsible for implementing our Foreign Trade Policy with the main objective of promoting India’s exports. Right from its inception till 1991, when liberalisation of the economic policies of the Government took place, the DGFT has been essentially involved in the promotion of foreign trade through regulation. Keeping in line with liberalisation and globalisation and the overall objective of increasing exports, DGFT has since been assigned the role of “facilitator”. The DGFT also issues licences to exporters and monitors their corresponding obligations through a network of 24 regional offices and an extension counter at Indore.

Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)

The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties (DGAD) was constituted in April, 1998.  It is responsible for carrying out investigations and recommending, where required under the Customs Tariff Act, the amount of anti-dumping duty/countervailing duty on the identified articles as would be adequate to remove injury to the domestic industry. The DGAD was named the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in May, 2018, which now acts as an integrated single window agency that provides a comprehensive and swift trade defence mechanism in India. 

From 1992 till 31.12.2014, DGAD initiated anti-dumping investigations into 309 products. The countries prominently figuring in anti-dumping investigations are China, European Union, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, USA, Singapore, Russia, etc. The major product categories on which anti-dumping duty has been levied are chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, fibres/yarns, steel and other metals and consumer goods.

Autonomous Bodies

Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), a statutory body, was set up under Section (4) of MPEDA Act, 1972 and became functional from 20th April, 1972. The MPEDA is responsible for development of the marine products industry with special reference to exports. It is headed by a chairperson. It is headquartered at Kochi and has a number of regional and sub-regional offices.

During the financial year 2020-21, India exported 11,49,510 MT of seafood worth US$ 5.96 billion. The USA and China are major importers of Indian seafood. Frozen shrimp continued to be the major export item followed by frozen fish. 

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985. The Authority, headquartered at New Delhi, is headed by a chairperson. In order to reach out to exporters in different parts of the country, APEDA has set up 5 regional offices and 13 virtual offices. APEDA is entrusted with the responsibility of export promotion and development of 14 agricultural and processed food product groups listed in the Schedule to the APEDA Act. In addition to this, it has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor the import of sugar.

APEDA has been actively engaged in the development of markets besides upgradation of infrastructure and quality to promote the export of agro products. In its endeavour to promote agro exports, APEDA, under its Plan Scheme titled ‘Agriculture Export Promotion Scheme of APEDA’, provides financial assistance to registered exporters under sub-components of the Scheme – market development, infrastructure development, quality development and transport assistance.

Commodity Boards

There are five statutory Commodity Boards responsible for production, development and export under the Department of Commerce. 

  1. The Coffee Board is constituted under Section (4) of the Coffee Act, 1942 and functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The board comprises 33 members including the chairperson. The board mainly focuses its activities in the areas of research, extension, development, market intelligence, external & internal promotion, and welfare measures. The Board has a Central Coffee Research Institute at Balehonnur (Karnataka) with a Sub-Station at Chettalli (Karnataka) and Regional Coffee Research Stations at Chundale (Kerala), Thandigudi (Tamil Nadu), Narasipatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Diphu (Assam), apart from the extension units located in coffee growing regions of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and North Eastern Region.
  1. The Rubber Board is constituted under Section (4) of the Rubber Act, 1947. The Board is headed by a chairperson appointed by the Central Government and has 28 members representing various interests of the natural rubber industry. The board’s headquarters is located at Kottayam in Kerala. The board is responsible for the development of the rubber industry in the country by assisting and encouraging research, development, extension and training activities related to rubber. It also maintains statistical data of rubber, takes steps to promote marketing of rubber and undertake labour welfare activities. The activities of the board are exercised through five departments viz. General Services, Extension & Advisory Services, Research Services (Rubber Research Institute of India), Training (Rubber Training Institute) & Finance. 
  1. The Tea Board was set up on 1st April, 1954 as per Section (4) of the Tea Act, 1953. The board consists of 32 members, including chairperson and deputy chairperson appointed by the Government of India representing different sections of the tea industry. The board’s Head Office is situated at Kolkata and there are two zonal offices-one each in North Eastern Region at Jorhat in Assam and in Southern Region at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Besides, there are 18 regional offices spread over in all the major tea growing states and four metros. For the purpose of tea promotion, three overseas offices are located at London, Dubai and Moscow. In order to meet the developmental needs of the small sector which accounts for more than 1/3rd of national tea production, a separate directorate has been set up during the year under report. The functions and responsibilities of the Tea Board include increasing production and productivity, improving the quality of tea, market promotion, and welfare measures for plantation workers and supporting R&D. Collection, collation and dissemination of statistical information to all stakeholders are other important functions of the board. Being the regulatory body, the board exerts control over producers, manufacturers, exporters, tea brokers, auction organisers and warehouse keepers through various control orders notified under Tea Act.
  1. The Tobacco Board was constituted on 1st January, 1976 under Section (4) of the Tobacco Board Act, 1975. The board is headed by a chairperson with its headquarters at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh and is responsible for the development of the tobacco industry. While the primary function of the board is promoting export of all varieties of tobacco and its allied products, its functions extend to production, distribution (for both domestic consumption and exports) and regulation of Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco.
  1. The Spices Board was constituted on 26th February, 1987 under the Spices Board Act, 1986 (10 of 1986) by merging the erstwhile Cardamom Board and the Spices Export Promotion Council under the administrative control of the Department of Commerce. The Spices Board is responsible for the overall development of the cardamom industry and export promotion of 52 spices listed in the Schedule of the Spices Board Act, 1986. The primary function of the board includes development of small and large cardamom, promotion, development, regulation of export of spices and control on quality of spices for export. The Spices Board also undertakes research activities on cardamom (small & large) under Indian Cardamom Research Institute.

Export Inspection Council

The Export Inspection Council (EIC) is the official export-certification body of India which ensures quality and safety of products exported from India. The EIC was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 to ensure sound development of export trade of India through quality control and inspection and matters connected therewith. The role of EIC is to ensure that products notified under the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act 1963 meet the requirements of the importing countries with respect to quality and safety.

The EIC is located at Delhi and is headed by a chairperson. The assurance to quality and safety is provided through either a consignment-wise inspection or a quality assurance / food safety management based certification through its field organisation. The Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) are located at Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, Delhi and Chennai with a network of 30 sub offices backed by the state-of-art NABL accredited laboratories at various places. EIC provides mandatory certification for various food items namely fish & fishery products, dairy product, honey, egg products, meat and meat products, poultry meat products, animal casing, gelatine, ossein, crushed bones, feed additive and pre-mixtures while other food and non-food products are certified on voluntary basis. 

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), a Deemed to be University, was established in 1963, as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. 

The rich contributions in the knowledge domain helped the Institute to earn the status of “Deemed to be University” in the year 2002. Over the years, the IIFT has emerged as a national university with focus on trade, economics and international business, which is reflected in all major activities of the institute viz. research, teaching and training. 

Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP)

The Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), an autonomous body set up by the leading packaging and allied industries and the Department of Commerce, Govt. of India, in May, 1966 under Societies Registration Act, 1860. The institute contributes to the packaging industry at national and international level through different activities. IIP’s laboratories are recognized by the Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (SIROS) under the Department of Science & Technology.

The Institute is involved in various activities like testing and certification of packaging materials and packaging for domestic and export markets. It is headquartered at Mumbai and its branches are located at Kolkata (1976), Chennai (1971), Delhi (1986), Hyderabad (2006) and Ahmedabad (2017). It is involved in different activities like testing and certification of packaging materials and packages, training and education, consultancy services and R&D activities related to packaging. The Institute has an excellent rapport with international organisations and has membership to various institutions. 

The institute is closely working with various commodity boards, export promotion councils such as APEDA, Spices Board, MPEDA, Tea Board, MoFPI, State Governments and other ministries, and packaging industries for the improvement of properties of packaging materials, package design, standards & specifications.

Export Promotion Councils: 

Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) is the apex body of all Export Promotion Councils/Commodity Boards/Export Development Authorities in India. The councils are as follows:

Figure 2: Export Promotion Councils in India


  1. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority
  2. Apparel Export Promotion Council
  3. Basic Chemicals Pharmaceuticals & Cosmetic Export Promotion Council
  4. Carpet Export Promotion Council
  5. Cashew Export Promotion Council of India
  6. Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council
  7. Coffee Board
  8. Coir Board
  9. Coconut Development Board  
  10. Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council
  11. Council for Leather Exports
  12. Engineering Export Promotion Council
  13. Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZ Units
  14. Electronics & Computer Software Export Promotion Council
  15. Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts
  16. Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council
  17. Handloom Export Promotion Council
  18. Indian Silk Export Promotion Council
  19. Indian Oilseeds & Produce Exporters Association EPC (IOPEA)
  20. Jute Products Development and Export Promotion Council – (JPDEPC)
  21. Marine Products Export Development Authority
  22. Project Exports Promotion Council of India
  23. The Plastics Export Promotion Council
  24. Powerloom Dev. and Export Promotion Council
  25. Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council
  26. Rubber Board
  27. Service Export Promotion Council
  28. Shellac Export Promotion Council (Renamed to Shellac & Forest Products Export Promotion Council)
  29. Spices Board
  30. Sports Goods Export Promotion Council
  31. Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council
  32. Tea Board
  33. Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC)  
  34. Tobacco Board
  35. Wool and Woollen Export Promotion Council
  36. Wool Industry Export Promotion Council
Vaibhavi Pingale

Ms. Vaibhavi Pingale is a Visiting Faculty of Economics at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune & at Savitribai Phule Pune University. She is pursuing her PhD. She has been actively writing media articles other than academic research.

Purvi Patil

Ms. Purvi Patil is a Research Assistant at Tatvita. She has pursued her graduation from the Liberal Arts Department of Savitribai Phule Pune University. Her areas of interest include International Relations, Data Protection and Privacy, and Sustainability. 

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