Restricted and Prohibited Goods

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The importation and exportation of certain goods and substances is restricted. However importations and exportation of such goods is possible only under certain conditions such as production of a relevant permit or licence. For some products, the importation or exportation is absolutely prohibited.

ZIMRA has been charged with the control of these import and export restrictions and prohibitions.

Why restrict or prohibit importation or exportation of certain goods or substances?

Controls are done in the interest of the public and are meant to protect the consumer against:

  • Dangerous and harmful drugs
  • Hazardous substances
  • Expired drugs
  • Pornographic, objectionable or undesirable materials
  • Harmful substances which include skin lightening creams, soaps and lotions

Some of the controls are meant to protect the environment against:

  • Destruction of fauna and flora
  • Extinction of endangered species

Others are meant to protect:

  • Revenue
  • Conserve foreign currency
  • Maintain export standards
  • Intellectual property against infringement of rights such as:
    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
    • Designs
    • Patents

Restricted Goods

Usually restricted goods in this context are those which are subject to import or export control – that is, goods which may not be imported or exported except under licence or permit. Examples include the following:

  • Wildlife and wildlife products
  • Agricultural produce
  • Plants and plant products, soil medium, invertebrates
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Relics and national monuments
  • Local currency
  • Foreign currency
  • Stills and all apparatus or parts of apparatus capable of being used for the production or refining of alcohol.

Importation or Exportation of Restricted Goods

The importation or exportation can only be done under a relevant permit or licence.

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

Customs valuation system

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Customs valuation system

The valuation of goods imported into Zimbabwe generally, and for the purpose of assessing ad valorem customs duties in particular, is based on the cost, insurance and freight established in accordance with the “Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (World Trade Organization (W.T.O) Valuation Agreement)” which specifies international valuation methods, and is provided by Sections 104 – 113 of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02].

The WTO Valuation Agreement provides a “positive” system of valuation which is based on the use of six specified methods of valuation.  These methods are to be applied in strict hierarchical order:

  • Method 1 is the Transaction value: primary method of valuation (Section 106)
  • Method 2 is the Transaction value of identical goods: first alternative method (Section 107
  • Method 3 is the Transaction value of similar goods, second alternative method (Section 108)
  • Method 4 is the Deductive value: third alternative method(Section 109)
  • Method 5 is the Computed value: fourth alternative method (Section 110)
  • Method 6 is the Fall-back method of valuation: final alternative method (Section 111) which is applied more flexible.

One exception is that the sequence of the deductive value method and the computed value method may be reversed at the request of the importer in terms of Section 109(1).

The Basic Principle: Transaction Value

The basic rule is that the value for customs purposes should be based on the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to Zimbabwe ; (for example, the invoice price), adjusted, where appropriate, to include certain payments made by buyers’.

 

Price actually paid or payable

  • This is the total payment made or to be made by the buyer to or for the benefit of the seller for the imported goods.
  • Payment may be made directly or indirectly.
  • an indirect payment would be the settlement by the buyer, whether in whole or in part, of a debt owed by the seller

 

Alternative Methods

For cases in which there is no transaction value, or where the transaction value is not acceptable as the customs value because the price has been distorted, the Agreement lays five other methods of customs valuation, to be applied in the prescribed hierarchical order:

Transaction Value of identical goods

If the customs value of the imported goods cannot be determined under the transaction value primary method, the customs value shall be the transaction value of identical goods sold for export to Zimbabwe and exported at or about the same time, same commercial level and same quantities as the goods being valued.

“Identical goods” means goods which are the same in all respects, including physical characteristics, quality and reputation.

 

Transaction Value – Similar Goods

If the customs value of the imported goods cannot be determined under the transaction value primary method and the identical method, the customs value shall be the transaction value of similar goods sold for export to Zimbabwe and exported at or about the same time, same commercial level and same quantities as the goods being valued.

“Similar goods” means goods which, although not alike in all respects, have like characteristics and like component materials which enable them to perform the same functions and to be commercially interchangeable. The quality of the goods, their reputation and the existence of a trademark are among the factors to be considered in determining whether goods are similar

Deductive Method

If the imported goods or identical or similar imported goods are sold in Zimbabwe in the condition as imported, the customs value of the imported goods shall be based on the unit price at which the imported goods or identical or similar imported goods are so sold in the greatest aggregate quantity, within 90 days to persons who are not related to the persons from whom they buy such goods

Computed Value Method

Computed value shall consist of the sum of  the cost or value of materials and  other processing employed in producing the imported goods, profit margin for similar goods in the export country and cost of transport , insurance and other associated costs incidental to the delivery of the imported goods to Zimbabwe.

Fallback Method

When the customs value cannot be determined under any of the previous methods, it may be determined using reasonable means and this method should be based on previously determined values and methods applied with a reasonable degree of flexibility.

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

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Commercial guidelines on imports and exports

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Commercial importations

What are commercial importations?

  • Goods imported for commercial purposes
  • Goods imported by organisations

Documentation required when clearing commercial importations

  • Bill of Entry (Form 21)
  • Suppliers’ invoices;
  • Packing lists;
  • Freight statements
  • Transit Bill of Entry from the country of export
  • Bill of Lading (for goods imported by sea)
  • Value Declaration Forms
  • Rail Advice Note
  • Port Charges Invoices (for goods imported by sea)
  • Agent / Importer’s Worksheet
  • Original Permits, Licences (for controlled goods – SPS / goods not on OGIL)
  • Duty Free Certificates (for government importations),
  • Rebate Letters (for goods imported under rebate of duty)
  • Value Rulings (for importers issued with advance Value Rulings)

Calculation of Duty

  • Duty is calculated on the basis of Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the imported goods.
  • The CIF value of the imported goods is an aggregate of the cost of goods, insurance, freight and any other charges incurred outsider Zimbabwe.

 

NB: Proof of all these charges must be produced.

Clearance Procedure

Clearance is done by registered clearing agents. A Bill of Entry (Form 21) is registered in the Asycuda World system together with supporting documents. Payments of duty may be done in the following manner:

  • Cash payments at the Cash Office
  • RTGs processed through the banks
  • Ecocash payment.
  • Swipe

Documents are processed, assessed and if correct a Release Order is issued authorising the collection of goods from the carrier or detention. If there is need to inspect the goods, an Examination Order is issued and an inspection carried out to verify the quantities, classification, origin, values or any aspect that needs clarification.

Temporary Importations

These can be cleared as follows:

  • By payment of a temporary deposit which is refundable on export.
  • By an ATIP (Application for Temporary Importation Privileges) which is guaranteed by a bank or insurance.

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

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Commercial Clearance Guidelines on Imports & Exports

Commercial Importations

These are goods imported for commercial purposes by any individual or organisation. Clearance of such importations is done by a Bill of Entry which is processed in the ASYCUDA system. The importer should have a Business Partner Number which is activated for Customs purposes.

Importers are encouraged to engage the services of professional clearing agents because of the complexities of the valuation system and the Harmonised System of classification of goods. The following documents are required when clearing commercial importations:

  • Bill of Entry (Form 21)
  • Suppliers’ invoices
  • Export or Transit Bill of Entry from the country of export (where applicable)
  • Value Declaration Forms.
  • Consignment notes, for instance Rail Advice Notes or Air Way Bill (AWB) or Bill of Lading
  • Freight statements
  • Cargo manifests
  • Insurance Statement
  • Certificates of Origin where preference is claimed
  • Port charges invoices (where applicable)
  • Original Permits, Licences (for controlled goods – SPS / goods not on OGIL)
  • Duty Free Certificates (for government importations),
  • Rebate Letters (for goods imported under rebate of duty)
  • Value Rulings (for importers issued with advance Value Rulings)
  • Agent / Importer’s Worksheet

*N.B. Copy of Tax Clearance Certificate (ITF 263) should also be attached.

Calculation of Duty

Duty is calculated on the basis of Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the imported goods up to the point of entry into Zimbabwe. Insurance and Freight inside Zimbabwe is excluded from the Value for Duty Purposes (VDP). The CIF value of the imported goods is an aggregate of the cost of goods, insurance, freight and any other charges incurred outside Zimbabwe.

Submission documents and Clearance of Goods

A Bill of Entry (Form 21) is lodged through the ASYCUDA World system. This is an internet based system where clearing agents and registered companies submit their clearance documents electronically. All the supporting documents should be scanned and submitted as attachments online (in ASYCUDA) together with the bill of entry.

If importer has no tax clearance certificate (ITF 263) Informal Cross Border Trader’s Tax of 10% of the value for duty purposes will be due and payable together with any duties and other charges which may be due before goods can be released by ZIMRA.

Payments of duty are done by way of bank deposits into the ZIMRA account. The deposited amount will be credited to the agent’s or importer’s account with ZIMRA.

Documents are processed, assessed and if correct a Delivery Release Order is issued authorising the collection of goods from the carrier or detention. If there is need to inspect the goods, an Examination Order is issued and an inspection carried out to verify the quantities, classification, origin, values or any aspect that needs clarification.

After assessment, two sets of documents in hard copies must be submitted for final release of the goods.

Origin and Preference

Preferential duty regimes and certificates of origin

These are trade agreements so that goods can enter Zimbabwe or be exported to any member state duty free or at lower rates thus making them cheaper

Where goods are imported from SADC, COMESA or any Member State with which we have a bilateral trade agreement, preferential rates of duty will be applicable if the correct certificates of origin are attached.

Available trade agreements are: COMESA, SADC, Zimbabwe-Malawi Trade Agreement, Zimbabwe-Botswana Trade Agreement, Zimbabwe – Mozambique Trade Agreement, Zimbabwe- South Africa Trade Agreement and Zimbabwe-Namibia Trade Agreement.

A certificate of origin signed by the exporter or manufacturer of the goods and duly authenticated by the relevant authority in the country of export should be produced.

For goods to be exported from Zimbabwe, the exporter and the goods should be registered with ZIMRA under the relevant trade agreement.

 

Importation into bonded warehouses

Goods can be imported into a licensed bonded warehouse and can be kept there for a period of up to two years before payment of duty. The facility is meant for importers who want to make bulk purchases and enjoy quantity discounts and cheaper transport costs for bulk shipments. The importer also has two years to sell his goods direct from that warehouse and will only take out small quantities as per customer requirements. This helps the importer in that cash is not tied-up on goods not yet marketable.

Removal of Goods in Bond

This is removal of goods in bond for final clearance at an inland port. A clearing agent who has a bond with ZIMRA or an importer who does in-house clearing and has a bond with ZIMRA can move goods from an entry point (border post) and do the final clearance inland. Goods moved under Removal In Bond are expected to be entered for consumption within 10 days.

Removal of Goods in Transit

This is removal of goods destined to other countries through Zimbabwe. Security for duty at stake for those goods will be through a clearing agent who has a bond with ZIMRA or a cash deposit. Goods removed in transit are expected to make exit within three days. The bill of entry will be acquitted in the system as proof that the goods have made exit. If the bill of entry remains outstanding in the system, the goods are taken to have been consumed in the country and duties waived at time of importation will be called for or the bond on those goods will be called-up.

Dealing with Transit Cargo

Transit cargo has posed so many challenges both for ZIMRA and the clearing agent involved. For ZIMRA, a lot of revenue has been lost as some of the goods would never make exit but disposed of on the local market. For clearing agents, after making the transit entry they do not have control over the driver and whatever may happen on the way yet they would have committed themselves to ZIMRA on processing the entry. To curb that problem especially on vehicles in transit, such motor vehicles need to be transported on a carrier as from 1st November 2010.

Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs)

Different importers import goods for different reasons and as such different Customs Procedure Codes (CPC) will be used on such importations. Such codes will enable importer to enjoy any privileges they are entitled to, for instance, importations for the exclusive use of the Government will come in duty free and a specific code for that was created. Some goods were granted a suspension of duty and such CPC was created also for that purpose. Some importers enjoy certain rebates and such codes will enable suppression of the duties due. However each declaration is verified by checking also if the CPC used is applicable. If one tries to take advantage of non-applicable codes, it becomes a false declaration and the goods will be liable to seizure.

Exports

Documentation has to be done by either a registered importer or a registered clearing agent. No duties are payable on export but clearance fees will be due and payable.

A Bill of Entry (Form 21) is lodged through the ASYCUDA World system same as for imports with the following supporting documents attached electronically to the entry:

Exchange Control CD1 forms which are obtained from  commercial banks

Suppliers’ invoices

Consignment notes

Copies of Export Permits/Licences (where applicable)

Temporary Importations

These can be cleared as follows:

By payment of a temporary deposit which is refundable on export.

By an ATIP (Application for Temporary Importation Privileges) which is guaranteed by a bank or insurance.

Temporary Import Permit Extensions

Tourists and visitors clear their vehicles on temporary importation permits (TIPs) which are valid up to the date endorsed on the day of entry. If this permit expires before the visitor or tourist leaves the country, he/she can visit the nearest ZIMRA office for an extension. Listed below are the requirements for an extension to be granted.

  • copy of the TIP
  • valid Carbon Tax payment
  • valid insurance
  • motor vehicle
  • passport
  • Importation of Goods

Private importations which are not merchandise can be cleared on Form 49 (receipt) without the need to engage the services of a clearing agent. The importer completes a declaration form called Form 47 and submits invoices for the goods and some of the documents listed below depending on how goods were transported to Zimbabwe.

  • Rail Advice Notes – transport by rail
  • Bill of Lading
  • Freight Statement
  • Vehicle Registrations

Motor vehicles acquired outside Zimbabwe need to go through ZIMRA formalities so that owners will be able to register them locally. The following are documents required for the vehicles to be registered locally:

Customs Clearance Certificate

  • Police clearance
  • Proof of residence (utility bills)
  • National Identity Document
  • Clearance papers required:
  • Bill of Entry
  • Form 49 Receipt
  • Release Order

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

Customs valuation system

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Sanitary wear that includes disposable napkins and sanitary cups are now exempted from VAT on domestic sales and on importation.

Customs concessions on bus assemblers

Duty free concessions have been extended to bus assemblers who import bus kits. The duty concession is in addition to exemption from the requirement that duties must be paid in foreign currency. The concessions are designed to stimulate growth in the bus assembly industry, as the Zimbabwe Government moves towards using buses for mass transportation in towns and cities.

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

Customs valuation system

Latest VAT and customs developments in Zimbabwe

Customs and Excise Duties in Zimbabwe

Customs and Excise Duties in Zimbabwe

customs duty

Customs Duty is levied on imported goods in terms of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02], whilst Excise Duty is levied on certain locally manufactured goods, and other imported goods falling under the Excise Tariff even if they are entered under Trade Agreements. Applicable rates of Customs and Excise Duties are set-out in the Customs Tariff Handbook, which is published in the form of a statutory instrument.

The applicable rates of duty depend on the category of goods.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is another tax levied on imported goods in terms of the Value-Added Tax Act [Chapter 23:12].

A Special Excise Duty is charged on

  • The change of ownership of locally registered second-hand motor vehicles at specified rates. For example, a 2014 (2000cc motor vehicle) the excise duty is $500 in terms of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02].
  • The sale value of airtime at a rate of 10%.

Duty may be reduced or waived where the following circumstances exist:

  • Suspensions
  • Rebates
  • Bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • Remissions

Our agents are always on hand to provide advice before you enter into any commitments. To find out more about this and other topics please contact us.

You may also read:

Customs valuation system

Latest VAT and customs developments in Zimbabwe

Restricted and Prohibited Goods

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