Export/Import License for agricultural products (EIL)


An export/import license for agricultural products (EIL) is a permit issued by a government agency that allows the holder to bring or to send a specific quantity of agricultural products into or out of a country.

  1. Regulatory compliance: It ensures that agricultural products comply with both the exporting and importing countries' regulations on quality standards, health and safety requirements, and other country-specific criteria.
  2. Market access: The licence is often a prerequisite for market access.
  3. Trade control and monitoring: Governments use export/import licences to control and monitor the flow of agricultural goods across borders. This helps in maintaining food security, managing supply chains, and preventing illegal trade practices.
  4. Trade policy implementation: These licences are tools for implementing trade policies, including tariff rate quotas and preferential agreements.


Issuers are government regulatory bodies responsible for agricultural, trade, and customs regulations.

Receivers include:

  • Exporters/importers or individuals engaged in the trade of agricultural products.
  • Banks/financial institutions involved in facilitating international agricultural trade transactions require an export/import licence as part of their due diligence.
  • Customs authorities in the importing country will review the licence to ensure that the agricultural products meet the necessary legal and regulatory requirements before allowing them into the country.
  • Other regulatory agencies, for example, health or environmental agencies might need to be informed, especially if the products are subject to specific health or environmental regulations.

Legal requirement

The export/import licence for agricultural products is typically subject to both public and private laws, depending on the country and the specific agricultural product in question.

  • Many countries require an export/import licence for agricultural products under public law. This is often to regulate the trade of these products, ensure food safety, comply with health standards, and protect domestic agriculture industries.
  • In some cases, private laws or industry standards might also play a role, especially when it comes to certifications related to organic farming, fair trade, or other specific agricultural practices. While these are not always legally required, they can be crucial for market access and consumer trust.


The degree of digitalisation of licencing systems is country dependent. Some parts may already be automated, while others remain manual. The process of obtaining an export/import licence for agricultural commodities typically involves the application to and approval by governmental authorities.


No known digital standard


  1. Licence/permit number
  2. Issuer name
  3. Recipient name and (usually) address
  4. Recipient ID code (licence holder number or national business number)
  5. Date of authorisation
  6. Valid from date
  7. Valid to date
  8. Commodity types
  9. Authorising officer name (and possibly ID code)
  10. Conditions (and maybe condition ID number)
  11. Relevant legislation/regulation(s):
    1. Issuer
    2. Title
    3. Issue date
    4. Section
  12. Commodity type, for which formal digitalisation would likely require:
    1. Commodity classification scheme
    2. Descriptor
    3. Machine-readable code value


  1. Harmonisation of legal frameworks: Globally, different countries have diverse legal frameworks governing export/import licenses. A key step towards digitalisation would be the harmonisation of these legal frameworks. This includes aligning the legal requirements for issuing, using, and verifying these licences across different jurisdictions.
  2. Development of universal standards: Establishing universal standards for the format, content, and security features of digital export/import licences, including establishing identity verification mechanisms, is crucial. These standards should be developed in collaboration with international organisations like the WTO and the FAO to ensure global applicability and recognition.
  3. Integration with existing digital systems: Digital export/import licences should be integrated with existing digital trade platforms and systems. This includes connecting them with customs management systems, electronic single windows, and other trade facilitation platforms to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.
  4. Stakeholder engagement and capacity building: Engaging all relevant stakeholders, including governments, exporters, importers, and regulatory bodies, is essential. This involves raising awareness about the benefits of digital licences and building the capacity of these stakeholders to use and manage digital systems effectively.