Import Export code is one of the Mandatory registration which is required by every Importer as well as exporter. There are various ways by which government use to promote Export products out of India. There are various Tax benefits under Indirect Taxation laws by which the exporter can save the cost of product and export the product in reasonable price. Various schemes made by government like Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) or Service Export from India Scheme (SEIS) have tremendous amount of benefits which only can be availed if the Exporter or Importer have IE code.
There are various reasons to get Import Export code. People use to go to exporter and take their services to export their own good out of India. The same businessman have the CST and VAT registration but always worried to take a Import Export Code. Even though It gives you the access to the International Market and also gives you the legal rights to do business in various foreign industries & different sector.
Well if you want to export goods without applying for Import Export code then yes goods can be exported out of India, but that will be considered illegal in the eyes of LAW.
Though it not Mandatory to take IE code to export goods out of India. Anyone can export goods out of India, but they need to send those goods from a person who already have IE code. If your regular business is related to Import and Export then it will a bad idea to not take IE code.
IE code holder have a lot of benefits from domestic government as well as foreign government & various schemes and tax benefits also. Exporter use to take all the benefits of those scheme just because he already done IE code Registration and the businessman who exported goods through him, ended up in increasing cost of their product.