FAQ's - Import
- I am a frequent importer, what should I do to be able to make use of e-payment?
- What is AEO? Is this status for importers only?
- What is the Cargo Fast Track Initiative?
- Is there a risk for foodstuffs (fruits and vegetables) to be damaged by the scanner?
- I am an importer and very often I receive with my imports, advertising materials, promotional items and free samples which I have not commanded. Besides, these items are not listed in my invoice. Is it a customs offence? What should I do?
- What if I cannot submit my original trade documents at the time of importation? Will I be able to clear my goods?
- If my import shipment does not carry any dutiable commodities, do I need to submit any import declaration?
- Can I import live animals (fish, birds, and other pets) and plants for commercial purposes?
You only have to inform your bank about the transaction you want to effectuate and you provide your customs broker/agent with the bank account to be credited.
The AEO status is trade facilitation measure which aims at encouraging best practices in customs procedures by granting recognition to compliant stakeholders. This will increase the credibility of the accredited operators among their suppliers and buyers. AEOs may also benefit from simplified customs procedures.
Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities can apply for the AEO status, namely:
- Freight Forwarders
- Warehouse Keepers
- Customs Agents
It has been noted that customs procedures are the same irrespective of whether an importer is compliant or not. Therefore to tackle this shortcoming, and to be in line with the recommendations of the Revised Kyoto Convention, which states that additional facilities have to be provided to compliant importers to improve compliance level, the Customs Department is launching a new project the ‘Fast Track Cargo Initiative’. Under this initiative, compliant importers who have successfully followed the compliance and monitoring programme will no longer be required to submit hard copy of the import declaration together with supporting commercial documents. However, these original documents and declarations are to be kept at the importers premises and made available to Customs. Consignments of these importers will be subject to a low rate of inspection and inspection will be performed at the importer’s premises.
The scanners acquired by customs are safe to scan foodstuffs of any kind.
I am an importer and very often I receive with my imports, advertising materials, promotional items and free samples which I have not commanded. Besides, these items are not listed in my invoice. Is it a customs offence? What should I do?
Every item imported, whether it is purchased or free, should be declared to customs in the BOE. It is not an offence to import these goods but will be an offence if they are not declared.
In this particular case, importers should liaise with their suppliers so as to include these items in the invoice. Customs will assess the value and duty and VAT will be claimed where applicable.
Normally customs requires all original trade documents with the BOE. However, when these documents are delayed (mailing problems, wrong documents sent by supplier, etc.), customs provides for a solution so as not to penalise importers. The importer is required to make a deposit of Rs. 20,000 (cash or cheque) to Customs in exchange of which the copies of the trade documents may be used in the BOE. If the original documents are not produced within a period of 20 working days, the deposit will be paid into Consolidated Fund and customs may investigate on this particular importation (to see if trade documents have been falsified). If the original documents are produced, the deposit is refunded.
An import declaration is required for every import. If an import shipment does not carry any dutiable commodities, then the import declaration will bear no customs duty. However, it may be that VAT is payable. Even if VAT also is exempted, the declaration has to be submitted because customs declarations are not only used for declaration and payment purposes but also for statistical purposes
You can import live animals/plants for commercial purposes provided certain conditions are satisfied. These are listed below:
The animals and plants should not be listed in the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (C.I.T.E.S). This appendix prohibits trade in these species because they are in danger of extinction. However, if it can be certified that the particular species have been bred artificially/in captivity, then trade can be allowed provided the consignment is accompanied by the required import and export permits.
If the specimens are listed in Appendices II or III of C.I.T.E.S, then they should be accompanied by the necessary permits and certificates.
The packaging of live animals and plants should be made according to Guidelines for transport and preparation for shipment of live wild animals and plants so as to prevent the specimen from being hurt or stressed.
Arrangements should be made in advance with relevant authorities (veterinary service) for quarantine purposes.