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Import: Standards, Testing, Etc.

Standards and Testing

India historically made efforts to align its national standards with international norms, and most Indian standards are harmonized with International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.  Nevertheless, there is current pressure within India to devise Indian Standards, which will create barriers to trade and pose challenges to U.S. exporters in certain sectors.  India frequently fails to notify the WTO of new standards, and to allow time for discussion with its trading partners prior to implementation. 

Because of pressure from consumer rights groups, NGOs, and environmental activists, there is a growing emphasis on product standards in India in various industry sectors. The proactive role of Department of Consumer Affairs and Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) under the Mission ‘One Nation One Standard’ have also contributed to an increased awareness and emphasis on product standards in India.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

In India, voluntary standards are exclusively developed by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). BIS was originally established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act of 1986 and is responsible for the development and formulation of standards. In March 2016, the government of India passed a revised bill to replace the 30-year-old BIS Act.  The bill established BIS as a national body and empowered the central government to authorize any other agency having necessary accreditation for conformity assessment against Indian standards.   The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) formulates Indian standards for orderly industrial and commercial growth, quality production, and competitive efficiency. BIS Certification Mark is granted to those Indian and foreign manufacturers who meet a BIS standard. The BIS Certification Mark is mandatory for locally produced goods as well as for imported goods. BIS is the only organization in India authorized to operate quality certification plans under an Act of Parliament.  It serves as the official member and sets policy for Indian participation in the ISO and International Electro Technical Commission (IEC). 


Labeling should:

  • Be written in English
  • Indicate country of origin
  • Contain large and prominent words

This requirement applies to every article, label, or wrapper that has any words in English. There are standards in effect for marking and labeling related to weights and measures for packaged goods imported into India and intended for retail sale.


India's ports are mostly located in the tropical region, which means special care is needed when packing goods for shipment. Damage may be caused by dampness, heat, exposure to sun and rain, insects, fungus, and molds. Therefore, waterproofing of shipments is necessary, and use of cases lined with zinc or tin is recommended.

Special attention is needed in packing imported machinery that may be transported through tropical areas or desert areas. Caution is needed when packing to protect against high humidity, dust, and sand. There are origin requirements for the labeling of imported merchandise. Labels must indicate the country or place where the goods were produced and any other name and address of the manufacturer.

Note: The above information is subject to change. Importers and exporters are advised to obtain the most current information from a customs broker, freight forwarder, logistics professionals, or local customs authorities.

Source: Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs