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Labeling Rules for Imports.


Labelling and Marking Rules for Imports

1. General commentary on Labelling and Marking


The DGFT Notification 44(RE) Dated  24.11.2004 on labelling and marking rules for imports issued on 24 November stipulates that MRP (Maximum Retail Price), generic name of product, month and year of entry in trade channel, importer name and address and quantity in standard units must be carried prominently on the “principle display panel” of the packages. The requirement must meet before import clearance from customs. The DGFT has clarified through Policy Circular 38 dated21 January 2001. The labelling and marking rules apply to the import of prepackaged commodities for retail sale only. Earlier, the Mumbai custom issued instructions on date compliance of the DGFT labelling and marking rules on imports through Public notice 139 dated 29 December 2000. The Public Notice clarified that the DGFT notification on labelling and marking rules will not be applicable on imports where the irrevocable letter of credit was established prior to the date of notification and imports have been made within the original validity of such irrevocable letter of credit. Further, these conditions will not be applicable on imports. Where shipments have been made prior to date of notification as per paragraph 15.14 of the Hand Book of Procedures (Vol.1).


Broadly speaking, “label” means any written, marked, stamped, printed or graphic matter affixed to or appearing upon any commodity or package containing any commodity which gives specific and authoritative information which gives specific and authoritative information about the commodity/goods or contents therein so as to enable its identification or recognition and could distinguish it from other products.
The mark or marking could include a device brand, heading ticket name signature word, letter, and numeral shape of goods.


Packaged commodities broadly means packaging of any article or goods whether in any bottle, tin wrapper or otherwise intended for sale whole sale of retail distribution or delivery or stored for sale/distribution and would include pre-packaged commodity and group or whole sale package.
The stipulation regarding labelling and marking requirements on traded/packaged goods are laid down in a number of Central Acts and Rules. Apart from this, the States have their own regulation in the matter. The main Act/Rules are detailed below:

  1. Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 ad Packaged Commodity Rules 1977
  2.  Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules 1955
  3.  Essential Commodities Act, 1955
  4. Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945
  5.  Trade Marks Act, 1999
  6. The bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 and Rules, 1987
  7.  The Insecticides Act 1968
  8.  Breast Milk substitutes (Advertisements and Labelling) Act 1982
  9. Copyright Act, 1957 and Rules, 1958
  10.  Designs Act, 2000
  11.  Environment (Protection) Act, 186 & Rules, 1986
  12. Essential Commodities Act, 1955
  13.  Explosive Act, 1884 & Rules 1983
  14.  Gas Cylinder Rules, 1981 & S&MPL (Unfired) Rules, 1981
  15. Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  16.  Information & Technology Act, 2000
  17.  Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
  18.  Patents Act, 1970 and Rules, 1972

The government also amended Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules last December. The amendment seeks extra information on manufacturer details on each food package. This is over and above the current requirement for the name and address of the person who “owns” the original title to the package. The information must be on each and every pack to “catch” subcontractors who are in grand conspiracy with the original titleholder to “defraud” the “poor and gullible” consumers.


For imported foods, the name and address of the importer must be indicated non the label. Where the food comes in bulk containers for repacking or bottling, additional details on the country of origin as well as the name and address of the packing unit must e given on each and every pack. The measure is scheduled to come into effect 20 November 2001.


Besides, the government has issued notification under Jute and Jute Textiles Control Order, 2000 to stipulate that each and every imported jute bag must give the country number of the importer. Presumably, the requirement must be met before import clearance at the customs.

2 Text of DGFT Notification 44-(RE) Dated 24 November 2000

DGFT Notification No. 44- (RE) Dated 24.11.2000

In exercise of power conferred under section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992 read with paragraph 13 and 4.1 of the Export and Import Policy, 1997-202 the Central Government hereby makes the following amendments in the ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 1997-2002 published on 31st March, 1997(RE-98) as amended from time to time, namely-


2. The following shall be added after paragraph 4 of Chapter 1A: General notes regarding import policy of ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 1997-2002.


“4. All such packaged products which are subject to provisions of the Standards of weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 when produced/packed/sold in domestic market, shall be subject to compliance of all the provisions of the said rules, when imported into India. The compliance of these shall be ensured before the import consignment of such commodities is cleared by customs fr home consumption. All prepackaged commodities declarations:

  1. Name and address of the importer
  2. Generic or common name of the commodity packed;
  3. Net quantity in terms of standard unit of weights and measures. If the net quantity in the imported package is given in any other unit, its equivalent in terms of standard units shall be declared by the importer;
  4. Month and year of packing in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported;
  5.  Maximum retail sale price at which the commodity in packaged from may be sold to the ultimate consumer. This price shall include all taxes local or otherwise, fright, transport charges, commission payable to dealers, and all charges towards advertising, delivery, packing, forwarding and the like, as the case may be.

3. DGFT Clarification on Labelling

Policy .Circular No.38 Dated 22.01.201

Attention is invited to Notification No.44- (RE-2000)/97-2002 Dated 24.11.2000.


Representations/references have been received fro Trade ad Custom regarding the scope ad applicability of the provisions of standards of weights and Measures (Package commodity) Rules, 1997, on various imports.
In this regard, it s clarified that:


The labelling requirements, as mentioned n Para 4 of the Notification, shall be applied only on imports of those pre-packaged commodities, which are intended for retail sale. Since import of raw material, components, bulk imports etc., would invariably undergo further processing or assembly before they are sold to consumers, these imports shall not invite the application of labelling requirement as per Para 4 of this Notification
This issues with approval of Director General of Foreign Trade.

4 Mumbai Customs Instructions on Labelling and Marking


The following Public Notice was issued by the Commissioner of Customs (Import), Mumbai on 29 December 2000.


Subject: Instructions regarding Notification No.44 (RE-2000)/97-2002 dated 24-11-2000, issued by Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce

DGFT Public Notice No. 139-PN  Dated 29.12.2000

Attention of all importers CHAs and other trade interests is invited to notification No. 44(RE-2000)/1997-2002 dated 24.11.2000 issued by Ministry of commerce ad Industry.


Doubts have arisen regarding the date compliance of above-mentioned notification and also the scope and applicability of the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) in Rules, 1077 as contemplated in the said notification. In this regard it is clarified that:

“Condition imposed on import through the above mentioned notification shall not be applicable on imports where the irrevocable letter of credit was established prior to the date of notification and imports have been made within the original validity of such irrevocable letter of credit. It is further clarified, that these condition shall not be applicable n imports where shipments have been made prior to date of notification as per paragraph 15.14 of Handbook of the procedures Volume l”.

Representation have also been received seeking clarification whether provisions f the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities), rules 1977 are also applicable to 131 products, listed in Notification No. 44, on which quality standards have been applied. N this context, it is clarified that provision regarding applicability of Indian quality standards on 131 products is an Indian quality standards on 131 products is an independent provision. The condition regarding compliance of the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977, will be applicable on import of all pre-packaged products, as these are applicable on similar domestically manufactures.
 
All prepackaged commodities imported into India shall in particular carry the following declarations:

  1.  Name and address of the importer
  2. Generic or common name of the commodity packed;
  3.  Net quantity in terms of standard unit of weights and measures. If the net quantity in the imported package is given in any other unit, its equivalent in terms of standard units shall be declared by the importer;
  4.  Month and year of packing in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported;
  5. Maximum retail sale price at which the commodity in packaged from may be sold t the ultimate consumer. This price shall include all taxes local or otherwise, fright, transport charges, commission payable to dealers, and all charges toward advertising, delivery, packing forwarding and the like, as the case may be with a view to ensure uniform applicability of conditions regarding compliance of the provision of the Standards of Weights ad Measures (Packaged commodities) Rules, 1977 as prescribed in notification 44(RE-2000)/1997-2002 dated 24.11.2000 for all prepackaged commodities imported into India, it is clarified that “prepackaged commodity” (as defined in Rule 2(l) of Standards of Weig5t and Measures(Packaged Commodities)Rules 1977) with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means a commodity (or article or articles) which, without the purchaser being present, is placed in a package of whatever nature, so that the quantity of the product contained therein has a predetermined value and such value cannot be altered without the package or its lid or cap, as the case may be, being opened or undergoing a perceptible modification, and the expression package:, wherever it occurs, shall be construed as a package containing a pre-packed commodity;

    Explanation (I): Where, by reason merely of the opening of a package, no alteration is caused to the name, quantity, nature or characteristic of the commodity contained therein, such commodity shall be deemed, for the purposes of these rules, to be a pre packed commodity for example, an electric bulb or fluorescent tube is a pre-packed commodity, even through the package containing it is required to be opened for testing the commodity.

    Explanation (II): Where a commodity consists of a number of components and these components are packed in one, two or more units for sale as a single commodity, such commodity shall be deemed for the purpose of these rules, to be pre-packed commodity.
    Imports, CHAs and other trade interests therefore, may take note of the same and ensure that conditions as enumerated in the Notification No. 4(RE-2000)/1997-2002 are complied to facilitate unhindered customs clearance.

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