Licenses required for restricted plastic waste import in India

Importing restricted plastic waste into India involves several licenses and regulatory requirements to ensure that the materials meet safety and environmental standards. These regulations aim to control the import of restricted plastic waste, promote recycling, and prevent the illegal dumping of hazardous waste. In this blog, we will discuss the licenses and permissions required for importing restricted plastic waste in India.

Import Export Code (IEC):

Before starting any import activity in India, including restricted plastic waste, an Import Export Code (IEC) is essential. It is launched by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and acts as a unique identification number for businesses involved in international trade.

Customs Clearance:

To import restricted plastic waste into India, you must go through customs clearance. This process involves submitting various documents and paying the necessary customs duties. The documents you might need include:

  • Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Importer Exporter Code (IEC)
  • Bill of Entry
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Letter of Credit or Purchase Order
  • Importer's GSTIN

Custom duties are subject to change and depend on the type of restricted plastic waste you are importing, so it's crucial to consult the latest tariff schedule.

Environmental Clearance:

restricted plastic waste importers must obtain environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest, & Climate Change or MoEFCC. This clearance is mandated by the Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) (HOWM) Rules, 2016. The application for environmental clearance should be made through the Online Application Form available on the MoEFCC's official website.

Registration with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):

Businesses dealing with restricted plastic waste imports must also register with the CPCB, ensuring environmental standards compliance. CPCB registration ensures that the business operates in an environmentally responsible manner.

Importer-Exporter Code Modification:

If the importer intends to deal with restricted or prohibited plastic waste, they must ensure that their IEC mentions the specific category of plastic waste they plan to import.

Basel Convention Approval:

The Basel Convention (BC) is an international treaty intended to manage the transboundary movements of hazardous waste. To import restricted plastic waste into India, you need prior informed consent (PIC) from the exporting country and the approval of the Basel Convention Secretariat.

Registration with the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB):

Besides the CPCB registration, importers may need to register with the particular State Pollution Control Boards. Requirements may vary from state to state, so checking with the local SPCB is essential.

Pre-Shipment Inspection Certificate:

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade or the DGFT has made it mandatory to obtain a Pre-Shipment Inspection Certificate to import plastic waste. This certificate is issued by an inspection agency designated by the exporting country and ensures that the waste conforms to the specifications mentioned in the Basel Convention.

Customs Documents for Hazardous Waste:

If the plastic waste being imported is classified as hazardous under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, additional documents and declarations will be necessary. These include a Hazardous Waste Manifest and a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the SPCB.

Importer Exporter Code (IEC) Modification for Restricted Items:

If you intend to import restricted restricted plastic waste items, you may need to modify your IEC to specify the category of waste you plan to import. You must ensure that the waste being imported complies with India's regulations.

Letter of Credit (LC) or Advance Remittance Certificate:

Typically, a Letter of Credit is used in international trade to ensure that the supplier is paid once the terms and conditions specified in the LC are met. Alternatively, an Advance Remittance Certificate can be obtained from the RBI or Reserve Bank of India to facilitate the payment for imported restricted plastic waste.

Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) from DGFT:

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade grants the IEC, which is essential for all import-export activities. Ensure that your business has a valid IEC before you engage in importing restricted plastic waste.

Import of Non-Hazardous Plastic Waste:

In the case of importing non-hazardous plastic waste, you should apply for the requisite permissions from the customs authorities and the environmental agencies. This often involves providing details of the type of plastic waste, its source, and its intended use.

Certification from the Exporting Country:

Depending on the source country of the restricted plastic waste, you may need a certification from their environmental authorities confirming that the waste meets the environmental standards of the exporting country and complies with the Basel Convention.

Importer's GSTIN:

The Goods and Services Tax Identification Number or GSTIN must pay GST on imported goods, including restricted plastic waste. Importers should ensure that their GST registration is up-to-date.

Consent from the Concerned Authorities:

The importer must obtain the necessary consent from the local authorities and the customs department before importing restricted plastic waste.

Financial Responsibility:

Importers may be required to provide financial assurance, such as a bank guarantee, to cover the costs of safe disposal and management of imported plastic waste in case of non-compliance with regulations.

No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Local Authorities:

Importers need to obtain an NOC from the local environmental and municipal authorities, indicating they have the necessary infrastructure and facilities to responsibly handle imported restricted plastic waste.

Inspection and Monitoring:

Importers are subject to inspection and monitoring by the concerned authorities, including customs and environmental agencies, to ensure compliance with regulations. These inspections may occur at the port of entry or the importer's facility.

Customs Valuation Declaration:

When importing restricted plastic waste, it's essential to accurately declare the correct value of the goods to determine customs duties and taxes. Incorrect valuation can lead to legal issues.

Record Keeping:

Importers should maintain comprehensive records of all transactions related to restricted plastic waste imports, including bills of lading, invoices, customs documents, and certificates of compliance.

BIS Registration (Optional):

Depending on the specific type of restricted plastic waste, it may be subject to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. This is typically applicable to recycled plastic products and not raw restricted plastic waste.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report:

In some cases, an EIA report may be required to import restricted plastic waste, especially if it involves large quantities or is considered potentially hazardous.

Safe Handling and Storage Facilities:

Importers must ensure that they have appropriate facilities and safety measures in place for the handling and storing of restricted plastic waste, mainly if it is classified as hazardous waste.

Compliance with E-waste Rules:

If the imported restricted plastic waste includes electronic waste components, it must comply with the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016. Additional permits and clearances may be necessary in such cases.

Legal Agreements with Suppliers:

It is essential to have legal agreements with your overseas suppliers outlining the quality, specifications, and standards that the restricted plastic waste must meet. These agreements can protect your interests and ensure compliance.

Insurance Coverage:

Importers may opt for insurance coverage to protect against potential losses or liabilities associated with the import of restricted plastic waste, especially if there are risks associated with the transportation & handling of the waste.

Consultation with Legal Experts:

Given the complex regulatory landscape, you should consult legal experts or trade consultants like EcoserveIndia, who specialise in imports, to ensure you meet all the legal requirements.

It's important to note that the licenses and permissions required for importing restricted plastic waste in India may vary based on the type of plastic waste, its source, and its intended use. The Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) (HOWM) Rules, 2016 govern the import of plastic waste and lay down stringent regulations to ensure responsible and environmentally friendly management of such waste. Importers should stay informed about any changes or updates to these regulations to comply with the law.

Importing restricted plastic waste into India is subject to rigorous regulatory control, primarily aimed at preventing the illegal dumping of hazardous waste and promoting responsible waste management. Ensuring compliance with these regulations is a legal obligation and a step towards environmental sustainability. Importers should, therefore, be diligent in obtaining the necessary licenses, permits, and certifications while adhering to the highest environmental and safety standards.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!

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