Customs procedure to import goods in Ethiopia

Customs procedures to import goods in Ethiopia

What activities are performed during customs procedure?

What are the prerequisites for different customs procedures?

There are situations where goods are imported for different purposes and in this article we are only looking at the implementation of customs procedures of commercial purposes imported goods.

The activities performed during the implementation of customs procedures can be divided into three main sub-activities, while implement just in the following order.

These are:

  • Customs transit procedure
  • Customs warehouse procedure
  • Customs Clearance procedure

(Referred from Customs Transit Directive No. 168/2012)

Customs transit procedure

“Customs transit procedure” means the process by which goods in transit are transferred under the control of customs from the customs point of departure to the destination point or to an authorized place.

Prerequisites for obtaining a transit permit for imported goods;

Prerequisites for obtaining a transit permit from the local customs offices for imported goods transported by uni-modal transport are the following;

These are;

  • Transit Declaration (IM8)
  • A letter of guarantee or duty-free right for the payment of duties and taxes.
  • Shipping document,
  • Container warranty; if shipping by container

Prerequisites for obtaining a transit permit for goods transported by multi-modal transport are

  • General guarantee for customs clearance,
  • Transit Declaration (IM-8) and Waybill T1

Customs transit departure points

Customs transit point of origin for imported goods in Ethiopia are;

A/ Port of Djibouti;

B/ Port of Berbera;

C/ Port of Sudan;

D/ Other ports of neighboring countries are decided by the commission.

Transit destination points

Imported goods transit destination points in Ethiopia are the following;

These are;

  • Local customs offices,
  • Authorized warehouses and
  • industrial zones

The points of entry for goods entering the country, the transit lines allowed for the goods to be transported, and control stations, the time allowed for transit are described in the Customs Transit Procedure Implementation Guide No. 168/2012.

The next Customs Procedure after the transit of goods became completed is the warehousing procedure.

2. Customs warehouse procedure

There are three types of customs warehouses and their differences are described below.

“Temporary Customs Warehouse” is a closed or open warehouse where imported goods remain under the control of customs until they are released after completion of customs formalities or transferred to a bonded customs warehouse or a government customs Warehouse, as the case may be, and includes a dry port;

“Bonded Customs Warehouse” is a warehouse where goods are stored duty-free and under customs control, and includes duty-free warehouses and bonded factories;

“Government Customs Warehouse” is a warehouse where goods seized or confiscated and abandoned in violation of customs laws are stored;

How long can goods stay in the customs warehouse in Ethiopia?

Any goods imported by sea or land should be cleared from the warehouse within 15 days from the date of entry into the temporary customs warehouse after the necessary customs formalities have been completed;

Any goods imported by air should be cleared from the warehouse within 10 days from the date of entry into the temporary customs warehouse after the necessary customs formalities have been completed;

Any commercial goods entered into a customs bonded warehouse should be cleared from the warehouse within 4 months, excluding duty free shops;

Any goods entered into a temporary customs warehouse or bonded warehouse will be transferred to the government’s customs warehouse if it is not removed within the above mentioned period.

3. Customs Clearance procedure

There are different types of clearance procedures, which are simplified clearance procedures, pre-arrival clearance procedures, and clearance procedures for items that have reached their destination and completed transit.

Out of the clearance procedures mentioned above, we will see which mentioned at the end.

In order to start the customs clearance procedure, the first activity is;

The declarant or the agent is required to fill out the declaration of goods and submit it electronically to the customs along with supporting documents. You can read about goods declaration by clicking below;

What is goods declaration?  Means of goods customs declaration for customs?

After the declarant electronically declares imported goods to customs; the next procedure is;

Customs start to validate the accuracy of declared goods based on different requirements while imposing different risk levels assigned to goods.

 Next, according to the risk level imposed, goods are subject to different customs procedures.

The following are the types of risk level and the undergoing clearance procedures assigned to objects.

These are;

  • Green (low) risk level;
  • Yellow (medium) risk level;
  • Red (high) risk level;
  • Blue (AEO) risk level

Items classified as low-risk are subject to post-exit audits and are released as soon as the original import documents are submitted to customs without document inspection and physical inspection.

Items classified as yellow (medium) risk are only subject to document inspection without physical inspection.

Authorized economic operators are risk with blue risk level subject to post-exit audits and are released as soon as the original import documents are submitted to customs without document inspection and physical inspection.

Items classified as red (high) risk level are subjected to physical inspection of goods and also on document inspection according to the customs inspection guidelines.

If a difference is found based on the inspection of documents and physical goods conducted by the customs commission of Ethiopia, the difference in duty and tax found is not more than fifty percent of the duty and tax that should have been paid on the goods registered in the declaration, or less than one million birr, the unpaid duty and tax of the goods will be penalized twice as much as the difference. Importer will be punished.

However, the document will be sent to the criminal investigation department for investigation if the item found in difference is more than 50% of the legal duty and tax stated in the declaration.

The duty and tax obtained by difference is not more than 5 percent of the total duty and tax to be paid and the act is done only once in one year, the importer will be made to pay the duty and tax obtained by difference without penalty.

When Importers or exporters has any complain on any decision of customs or has not reached an agreement with the Commission regarding the difference found based on the document and physical inspection of the goods, any customer can file a complaint and appeal according to the complaint and appeal system described in the other posts. You can click here.

The Commission shall conduct a post-clearance audit within a period of five years from the date of acceptance of the goods declaration to verify the accuracy of the declaration of goods released after completing customs procedures. Thus, the importers or exporters should keep clearance documents until the prescribed date.

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