Imports into India
Globalization and liberalization in International trade of plants and plant material in the wake of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement under WTO has allowed the traders to import in bulk, new and better quality of fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. into the country. Simultaneously, Government of India has revised their regulation of import and christened it as ‘Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003’(PQ Order, 2003) issued under the Destructive Insects & Pests Act, 1914 to prevent introduction of exotic pests posing threat to national agricultural economy.
Salient features of PQ Order, 2003
- Plant & Plant material are allowed into India after the Import (Pest) Risk Analysis is conducted and thereafter categorized under Schedule-IV, V, VI, VII and VIII of this Order. The pest risk analysis has been made mandatory for all the plants/plant material prior to its import into India as per Clause 3(7) of the PQ Order, 2003. The risk of exotic pests and diseases is minimized by identifying the potential pests which can get into the country with the specified commodity and seeking certification of their freedom/pest free area status, etc. from the exporting country.
- Presently, a total of 61 entry points including 34 seaports, 12 airports and 15 land custom stations are notified points of entry for import of plants and plant material. Besides, 60 Inland Container Depot/Container Freight Station, 11 Foreign Post Offices have also been notified for the entry of plants/plant material under the PQ Order, 2003. However, the agricultural commodities are classified into two categories; namely seeds & propagative material for sowing/multiplication and the other is plant & plant material meant for consumption. Accordingly they are permitted into India from the following points of entry:-
- Seeds and propagative plant material are allowed to be imported only through five major ports viz., Amritsar, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai & New Delhi;
- whereas Commodities meant for consumption are permitted to be imported through all the notified ports under P.Q. Order, 2003.
- 14 Commodities are prohibited and notified in Schedule-IV.
- 17 Commodities notified in Schedule-V can be imported on the recommendation of identified institutions.
- Commodities regulated to import with additional declarations for specific regulated pests and special treatment conditions are covered in Schedule –VI.
- Import Permit and Phytosanitary certificate (PSC) are mandatory for commodities covered in Schedule-VI.
- Commodities of least risk category for consumption purpose without import permit are specified in Schedule-VII.
- Phytosanitary certificate is mandatory for all the consignments except for certain categories of plant material imported for personal consumption less than 2 kg.
- 31 Quarantine weeds are notified in Schedule-VIII. No consignment of seeds or grain shall be permitted to be imported with contamination of quarantine weeds.
- Import Inspection fee and treatment fee are stipulated in Schedule-IX.
- 22 Import Permit Issuing authorities are notified in Schedule-X.
- 41 Inspection Authorities to carry out Post-Entry Quarantine Inspection are notified in Schedule-XI.
- Import of Germplasm/ Transgenics/ GMOs permitted only with an IP issued by Director, NBPGR, New Delhi and entry permitted only through New Delhi Airport.
- No import permit shall be issued for import of consignments other than those covered under Schedule V, VI & VII without Pest Risk Analysis.
- If a trader desires to import plant & plant material other than listed in the relevant schedules, they have to file an application in PRA Form requesting for conducting Pest Risk Analysis for its inclusion in the relevant schedules with the necessary conditions, if any.
Post Entry Quarantine Inspection in respect of identified planting materials:
The planting material for propagation (viz., cuttings, saplings, bud woods, etc.) require growing under Post Entry Quarantine for a specified period as stipulated under the column ‘Special conditions’ in the schedules of Plant Quarantine Order, 2003. The import permit for such planting material is granted based on a certificate from Inspection Authorities of the concerned jurisdiction stating that the importer possesses the post entry quarantine facility for the imported planting material. Such consignments are released with the intimation to the concerned Inspection Authorities for conducting further PEQ inspections and the final clearance is granted based on the PEQ Inspection Report.
Requirement of Import Permit: An Importer intending to import agricultural commodities has to apply in advance for the issue of Import Permit in respect of the commodities listed in Schedule V and VI of PQ Order, 2003 in the prescribed form. No Import Permit is required for importing commodities listed in Schedule VII.
Procedure for Import Quarantine Clearance
•The importer or his agent has to apply in prescribed form along with import permit, PSC, certificate of origin, invoice, packing list, shipping/ Airway Bill, Customs Bill of entry to the respective Plant Quarantine Station.
•The application complete in all respects shall be registered after payment of inspection fee as per Schedule-IX of PQ Order, 2003 issued for inspection & sampling.
- The samples are subject to detailed laboratory testing such as X-ray, washing test, incubation and grow-out tests and other special diagnostic tests to ascertain freedom from exotic pests.
- Subsequently, the Plant Quarantine Officer sends the recommendations for its release or otherwise to the Customs.
Director General of Foreign Trade is to implement the provisions relating to Imports and Exports made under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, to advise and carry out the Export and Import Policy (Foreign Trade Policy) of Government of India formulated from time to time. Under the ambit of this Act, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India has developed a web portal Compendium of import policy in India. This portal provides the current updated import policies corresponding to the various products that enter India.This compendium will guide the importer in importing plant commodity in to India. However, for further details regarding listing of the commodity and Plant Quarantine conditions, traders should refer the ‘Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 (PQ Order, 2003) issued under the Destructive Insects & Pests Act, 1914. Section 4 of the DIP Act empowers the Customs to operate the notifications issued under DIP Act, as if the same issued under Section 11(2k) of Customs Act, 1962 To facilitate Customs, Plant Quarantine officers are posted at all notified points of entry (Seaport/Airport/Land Frontiers) for implementing various regulations issued under DIP Act, 1914.