Commercial Importers


  1. Customs Requirements for Clearance of Imported Goods
  2. Clearances and Permits
  3. Valuation
  4. Exchange Rates
  5. Duty
  6. Trade Marks and Copyrights
  7. Counterfeiting and Piracy
  8. Authorised Economic Operators(AEO)

Customs Requirements for Clearance of Imported Goods

 

Making a Customs Declaration

 

A Customs Declaration/Bill of Entry has to be submitted for every importation. Some importers have their own customs clerk but most of them utilise the services of a Customs House broker, or freight forwarding agent. Customs agents/brokers must be registered at Customs to be able to clear goods.

 

Lodging a Declaration

 

Import entries and other clearances are a legal declaration to Customs under the Customs Act 1988, providing details of import shipments. Among other offences under the Act, it is an offence to make an erroneous entry or declaration. A penalty may be applied, or prosecution action taken if an erroneous entry or declaration is made.

 

Temporary Imports

 

If you import non-consumable goods that will be re-exported within 12 months of importation, you may qualify to enter the goods using a Temporary Import Entry. In this case you may be required to provide some form of security (such as a cash deposit or other approved security) to cover any Customs Duty and/or VAT pending re-export. The deposit will be fully refunded if the goods are re-exported within 12 months from the date of importation.

 

Mauritius accepts the ATA carnet in lieu of security as a means of facilitating the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for use or display at an exhibition, and certain other materials and equipment.

 

ATA Carnet

 

This is an international Customs document designed to facilitate the temporary importation of goods into other countries where you intend to return all the goods to the country of original export. The same document set is used at arriving and departing ports as it contains a set of detachable import/export vouchers that are completed by Customs at each port. The ATA carnet has a validity of 12 months commencing from the date of issue.

 

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Clearances and Permits

 

Clearance

 

The following items require clearances from the relevant authorities:

 

Permits

 

Import permit is required for goods listed in the First Schedule of the Consumer Protection (Control of Import) Regulation 1999.

 

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Valuation

 

The usual method for establishing the Customs value is by using the transaction value (the price paid or payable for the imported goods). Overseas freight and insurance charges are deducted if these charges are already included in the transaction value.

 

Customs will accept the transaction value on these conditions:

 

 

Where the transaction value cannot be used, there are alternatives for determining the Customs value:

 

 

When applying the fall back method of valuation (as a last resort), the other valuation methods may be used in a more flexible and tolerant manner. However, the value of the goods being valued shall not be determined on the basis of :

 

 

Where Customs Officers find that goods have been declared at a value different from their true value they may, on the basis of the information provided by the importer and on other information available, determine the value of those goods and the importer shall pay duty, excise duty and taxes, if any, on the value so determined.

 

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Exchange Rates

 

The Customs value is required in Mauritian Rupee, so it may be necessary to convert the invoiced amount into the Mauritian Rupee equivalent, using the exchange rate in force on the date the import entry or clearance document is lodged at Customs.

 

Exchange rates used by the Mauritius Customs Department are set for one week period, and are made available 3-4 days in advance at the Registry.

 

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Duty

 

Import Duty

 

The rate of Customs duty applicable on imported goods shall be that as per the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act.

 

 

Excise Duty

 

Excisable goods means goods specified in the First Schedule of the Excise Act 1994 and the chargeable rate shall be as per Part I of the First Schedule of the Excise Act 1994.( hyperlink – The Excise Act 1994 )

 

Origin of goods

 

The origin of goods you are importing may have a bearing on the tariff rate of duty to which your goods may be liable.Goods can be classified into two types of Origin which are:

  1. the general rate of duty which applies to goods imported from all foreign countries
  2. the preferential rate which applies to goods imported from countries having trade agreements with Mauritius. The rate of duty imposed will depend on the particularities of the agreement (the rate of duty may be of reduced rates or even nil).

 

For more information on the Tariff Classification and Origin of a particular item you can contact the Customs Tariff and Origin Information Unit.

 

Value Added Tax

 

Goods imported into Mauritius are liable for Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15 percent. VAT is payable on the sum of following amounts:

 

 

Payment of Charges

There are three modes of payment for the Customs charges. These are:

 

  1. Cash
  2. Cheque
  3. e-payment – through bank transfer.

 

Among these three modes of payment, e-payment proves to be the easiest, safest, fastest and most reliable. In fact, this mode of payment eliminates the shortcomings of the other two (long queues at cashier, bounced cheques and time consuming procedures) and customs is encouraging more and more stakeholders to make use of this particular payment mode.

 

E-payment initiative

E-payment is a mode of payment in addition to the conventional methods of payment offered by the banks under specific security norms. This scheme facilitates anytime, anywhere payment and an instant cyber receipt is generated once the transaction is completed. The e-payment facility is a part of the e-Customs initiatives.

 

Customs administration is an important player in business processes, able to determine the speed and effectivity of business transactions. It also generates a significant share of state revenues, therefore its processes effectiveness is vital for the state and the business.The implementation of electronic customs processes (e-Customs) creates basic preconditions for:

 

 

The ultimate goal in the e-customs project is to allow all customs/trader transactions and data exchange to be performed electronically in a secure and reliable manner.

 

The main idea is to speed up the payment process and consequently speed up the whole customs declaration procedure. After the trader sends the payment order to his bank, the bank immediately sends an electronic payment guarantee message to the corresponding customs office. Money transfer is done in a standard way through the bank clearing system and is independent from the payment guarantee message sent to the customs office.

 

Advantages for Stakeholders

 

Refunds

Refunds of Customs duty and VAT may be made when:

 

 

Evidence to support any refund application will be required.

 

Goods on which import duty is paid and subsequently exported may also be eligible for a drawback of the duty and VAT (examination by Customs at time of export to ascertain if the goods have not been altered/substituted).

 

Short-payments

 

Short-payment of Customs charges may be identified in various ways, for example, voluntary disclosures by clients, Customs audit or other Customs investigations.

 

Most of short payments cases arise due to under valuation of goods by stakeholders to reduce their customs charges. When this malpractice is detected, an "upliftment" procedure is done and the true value is assessed by customs.

 

Consequently an uplifted customs charge will be paid by the importer. The "uplifted" customs charge may include a penalty depending on the gravity of the undervaluation and on whether there are other customs offences associated with the importation.

 

Where the short-payment of Customs charges arises as the result of audit activity or from a Customs enquiry (post clearance control), Customs provides notice in writing including information of any appeal provisions.

 

Post-entry/Amendments

Customs has to be informed when changes (Post-entry/Amendments) need to be done in the information provided in a Customs Declaration/Bill of entry. The declarant/customs broker informs Customs electronically (EDI) about the information (quantity, marks and numbers, weight, name of importer, etc...) to be amended. Customs revert back the message after approval and only then the declarant issue a new version of the declaration be issued and continue with the clearance procedures.

 

No post-entry can be made in the customs regime and the routing code. If changes are to made for this particular heading, the bill of entry should be cancelled and a fresh bill of entry has to be issued.

 

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Trade Marks and Copyrights

To help prevent the importation of unauthorised copies of goods, the owner of a trade mark or copyright can give a notice to the Customs requesting the detention of the goods. The current list of trade marks and copyright notices is shown below. The owner of a registered trade mark has the exclusive right to the use the trade mark in Mauritius. The owner may take Legal action against anyone who imports, sells, manufactures, or distributes goods bearing an unauthorised copy of the trade mark, or a mark similar to the trade mark, if it is likely to deceive or cause confusion among consumers.

 

List of Right Owners registered at Customs

 

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Counterfeiting and Piracy

Customs detains a wide range of imitation goods at the border. The most common counterfeit and pirated goods are:

 

Some counterfeit goods intercepted at the border pose a risk to consumers, such as imitation foodstuffs, medicines, toys, car oil filters and cell phone charging units.

Importers and consumers should consider the following if they suspect goods are counterfeit:

 

 

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Authorised Economic Operators(AEO)

AEO status is primarily a trade facilitation measure focused on an accreditation regime to prove supply chain compliance. The aim of the AEO programme is to enhance security through granting recognition to reliable traders and encouraging best practice at all levels in the international supply chain. Operators accredited with the AEO status will benefit of the following advantages:

 

 

An operator who wants to acquire the AEO status will have to satisfy certain conditions to the satisfaction of Customs. In addition to that, the applicant will have to undergo a physical evaluation (audit) carried out by a pool officers from the MRA Customs Department. The four main criteria to be analysed are:

 

 

Once the evaluation is over, Customs will decide whether or not to grant the operator the AEO status.

 

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