Reverse Bank of India by circular dated January 23, 2020 has issued the revised guidelines of Merchanting Trade Transaction (MTT).

The trade is called Merchanting Trade when, the supplier of goods will be resident in one foreign country, the buyer of goods will be resident in another foreign country and the merchant or the intermediary will be resident in India. Sometimes what happened in the normal course of business a person buy some goods from one person and sale to the other person may be within the same city/ town/ village/ state or within anywhere in the domestic country.  This example is of domestic country, however if we apply the same example in international scenario, it will become the merchanting trade transaction. In the following circumstances in the Indian context, a trade is called merchanting trade when:

  • The supplier of goods will be resident in one foreign country;
  • The buyer of goods will be resident in another foreign country;
  • The merchant or the intermediary will be resident in India.

That’s why the merchanting trade transaction is also known as intermediary trade.

merchanting trade

As per the revised guidelines, Merchanting Trade Transaction should satisfy the following conditions:

> For a trade to be classified as merchanting trade, goods acquired shall not enter the Domestic Tariff Area.

> Considering that in some cases, the goods acquired may require certain specific processing/ value-addition, the state of goods so acquired may be allowed transformation subject to the AD bank being satisfied with the documentary evidence and bonafides of the transaction.

> The MTT shall be undertaken for the goods that are permitted for exports / imports under the prevailing Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) of India.

> AD bank shall satisfy itself with the bonafides of the transactions. The entire merchanting trade is to be routed through the same AD bank.

> The entire MTT shall be completed within an overall period of nine months and there shall not be any outlay of foreign exchange beyond four months.

> Short-term credit either by way of suppliers’ credit or buyers’ credit may be extended for MTT to the extent not backed by advance remittance for the export leg.

> Payment for import leg may also be allowed to be made out of the balances in EEFC account of the merchant trader.

> Merchanting traders may be allowed to make advance payment for the import leg on demand made by the overseas supplier.

> Letter of Credit to the supplier for the import leg is permitted against confirmed export order.

> AD bank shall ensure one-to-one matching in case of each MTT and report defaults in any leg by the traders to the concerned Regional Office of the Reserve Bank, on half yearly basis, within 15 days from the close of each half year, i.e. June and December.

> Merchant traders with outstanding of 5% or more of their annual export earnings shall be liable for caution listing.

> Third party payments for export and import legs of the MTT are not allowed.

> Agency commission is not allowed in MTTs.

> AD bank may write-off the unrealized amount of export leg, without any ceiling, on the request made by the Merchanting trader.

> AD bank may approach Regional Office (RO) concerned of the Reserve Bank for regularization of the MTT for deviation

Link of the Circular issued by RBI:

(Any query and suggestion kindly contact the author at: [email protected] or +918077133617)

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this document have been prepared on the basis of relevant provisions and as per the information existing at the time of the preparation. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided, I assume no responsibility, therefore. Users of this information are expected to refer to the relevant existing provisions of applicable Laws. The user of the information agrees that the information is not professional advice and is subject to change without notice. I assume no responsibility for the consequences of the use of such information.


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March 2021