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India offers interesting business opportunities. Especially for German toy manufacturers. Entering the market, however, is complicated. On-site expertise helps surmount trade barriers.

Stand of toy robots

India’s economy is booming. No other country on earth is growing so fast. According to an analysis of Germany Trade and Invest, “India has the potential to become one of the largest consumer good markets.” Its high number of inhabitants alone makes the country an interesting sales market. Added to this are rising incomes and a comparatively young population. The toy industry is currently discovering India as an export market, but encountering obstacles to entering this market.

“Numerous toy manufacturers are asking for information on Indian product requirements and import regulations,” says Bernd Jiptner of international testing company SGS. “According to a report of the EU Commission, India has the second highest number of trade barriers in the world – after Russia and on par with China and Brazil.”

On-site know-how is helpful to companies looking to export. In Manesar in northern India, inspection organisation SGS operates an accredited testing laboratory specialised in toys. The local experts are familiar with the regional regulations and support foreign companies in entering the market.

Trade with hurdles

The import of toys to India requires a certificate of conformity based on standards group ASTM F963/ ISO 8124/ EN 71. In addition, imports to India are possible on with an IEC (Import Export Code) and/or BIC (Business Identification Code). Both numbers are issued by the Indian licensing authority, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. For consumer goods, the specific requirements for labelling must be observed as well.

“Many import regulations are currently undergoing changes, however,” SGS expert Bernd Jiptner says. “The Indian government wants to expand technical regulation and market monitoring. India will soon have new mandatory environmental, health and consumption standards.” In this context, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act came into effect at the end of October 2017. The law officially appointed BIS as the national standardisation body. The future configuration of conformity assessment systems, however, is still unknown.

Local expertise helpful

“It is important to remain up-to-date on the current developments in India,” Jiptner advises companies that wish to export to India. The toy expert is also involved in the German-Indian Workgroup for Quality Infrastructure of the German Federal Ministry for Economics and the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ). Through harmonised standards, the committee intends to dismantle existing technical trade barriers whilst increasing product safety in the movement of goods.


SGS Germany GmbH
Consumer and Retail
Bernd Jiptner
Rödingsmarkt 16
D-20459 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 (0)40 30101-840