QUALITY CONTROL AND PRE-SHIPMENT INSPECTION
Export Inspection Council of India (EIC)
The Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control & Inspection) Act, 1963 as an apex body to provide for sound development of export trade through quality control and pre-shipment inspection. The Act empowers the Central Government to notify commodities and their minimum standards for exports and to set up suitable machinery for inspection and quality control.
The EIC is assisted in its functions by the Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) located at Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai having a network of 38 sub-offices and laboratories to back up the pre-shipment inspection and certification activity.
In the WTO regime, as India's trading partners are installing regulatory import controls, the EIC has also introduced voluntary certification programmes, especially in food sector and is seeking recognition for its certification by official import control agencies of its trading partners to facilitate easier access to their markets for Indian exporters.
With the liberalization of the trade regime, the role of EIAs has become voluntary for many items. However, in the areas of Fish & Fishery Products, Dairy Products, Poultry Products, Eggs Products, Meat & Meat Products and Honey, certification for exports remains mandatory. The EIAs are also providing support, by way of training and awareness to the trade and industry for overall upgradation of their quality and quality assurance systems, in line with international requirements.
Export Inspection Agency, Kochi
Inspection Agency Recognition Scheme
EIC continued to recognize Inspection Agencies under the provisions of Section 7 (1) of Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963. Under the EIC Inspection Agency Recognition Scheme 2002, which is aligned with the International Standard on Acceptance of Inspection Bodies, ISO/IEC 17020:1998, to make the scheme internationally acceptable, 34 Inspection Bodies have so far been approved and notified by the Government of India.
MOU with Republic of China
An important Agreement of Cooperation on Inspection of Iron Ore between the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China (AQSIQ) and Export Inspection Council of the Republic of India (EIC) was signed in 2006. The Agreement aims at establishing a working mechanism which will strengthen co-operation between both sides and develop and promote trade in Iron Ore in a mutually beneficial manner between India and China. Under the Agreement, only those inspection agencies which have been approved and recognised by Export Inspection Council of India would be able to inspect the Iron Ore being exported from India to China as per standards of China and the applicable international standards. Inspection Certificates issued by the EIC's approved inspection agencies would be accepted as such by Import Regulatory Authorities of China without any further testing thereby resulting in increased free trade of Iron Ore from India to China. It has also been agreed that in case of non-standard inspection behaviour of these approved inspection agencies, further action would be taken through consultation between AQSIQ, China and EIC of India so as to ensure a mutually acceptable and effective resolution of the problems. This agreement is expected to solve many inspection related problems in the export of Iron Ore from India to China.
CECA between India & Singapore
The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement signed between India and Singapore during the month of July 2005, includes the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Goods. Under this agreement, each side would accept certification of results of conformity assessment activities of the other side to demonstrate compliance with its mandatory requirements. The designating criteria for Electrical & Electronics Sector were developed for the purpose of designating Conformity Assessment Bodies for export.
Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with French Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery
During the 14th Session of Indo-French Joint Committee held at Paris on 31st May 2006, India expressed its willingness to sign an agreement between the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery and the EIC, under the Department of Commerce to facilitate the import of Food and Fishery Products by France. The French side reaffirmed its willingness to facilitate technical exchanges with the relevant entities to facilitate the implementation of import regulations. EIC has been designated as the Competent Authority for the implementation of the Memorandum for the Indian side.