Declaration C12576 21.05.11
Sample #23; Line # 65
Baby Wipes are small sheets of wadding impregnated with solutions which are used for cleaning of the skin.
Heading 3401 covers organic surface active products and preparations for washing the skin, in the form of liquid or cream and put up for retail sale whether or not containing soap; paper, wadding, felt and non-woven, impregnated, coated or covered with soap or detergent.
The terms of tariff subheading 3401.11.90 covers preparations for washing the skin whether or not containing soap.
Baby wipes are properly classifiable in HS 3401.19.90.10
Sugar based powdered Drink Mixes
The following is the Dominica Customs and Excise Division’s decision regarding the classification of flavored powdered drink mixes imported into Dominica on the 23rd December 2009.
The merchandise at issue includes the following products:
- Kent Boringer Trix Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 2.5Kg
- Kent Boringer Trix Pineapple Flavoured Powder Drink 2.5Kg
- Kent Boringer Trix Strawberry Flavoured Powder Drink 2.5Kg
- Kent Boringer Trix Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 900gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Pineapple Flavoured Powder Drink 900gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Strawberry Flavoured Powder Drink 900gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Mango Flavoured Powder Drink 900gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 750gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Pineapple Flavoured Powder Drink 750gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Mixberry Flavoured Powder Drink 750gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Watermelon Flavoured Powder Drink 750gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Mango Flavoured Powder Drink 750gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Lemon Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Strawberry Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Grape Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Pineapple Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Sour Cherry Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Cocktail Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Mango Flavoured Powder Drink 45gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 25gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Mango Flavoured Powder Drink 25gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Ananas Flavoured Powder Drink 25gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Ice Orange Flavoured Powder Drink 10gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Ice Strawberry Flavoured Powder Drink 10gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Ice Lemon Flavoured Powder Drink 10gr
- Kent Boringer Trix Ice Pineapple Flavoured Powder Drink 10gr
The labeling states that to prepare the drinks “pour out contents, add measured quantities of water and mix thoroughly. No need to add water”.
Whether the flavoured powdered drink mixes as described above are classified in heading 2106 of the Harmonized Tariff as claimed, which provides for other food preparations not elsewhere specified, or under heading 1701 of the Harmonized Tariff, which provides for cane or beet sugar containing added flavouring matter , whether or not containing added coloring.
Law and Analysis:
The classification of imported merchandise into Dominica under the Harmonized System is governed by the principles set forth in the general rules of interpretation (GRI). GRI rule 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the heading of the HS tariff schedule and any relative section and chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI’s taken in their appropriate order. Accordingly, we first have to determine whether the products are classified under GRI 1.
Heading 1701 of the HS provides for “cane and beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form”. At the six digit level, 1701.91, provides for cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form containing added flavoring or coloring matter.
Heading 2106 of the HS provides for “food preparations not elsewhere specified or included”. At the eight digit level, 2106.90.30 provides for flavoring powders for making beverages.
The primary consideration in determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading should be given to the language of the heading of the tariff schedule and any relative legal directive of the HS.
Pursuant to GRI 1, the subject beverage mixes are to be classified according to their ingredients because neither heading 2106 nor heading 1701 specifically describes “powdered drink mixes”
The labeling on the said products indicates sugar as being the main ingredient.
The Exporter also communicated via e-mail the sugar content of the products.
- 2.5Kg Trix – 79.95% Sugar
- 900gr Trix – 79.95% Sugar
- 750gr Trix – 79.65% Sugar
- 450gr Trix – 79.65% Sugar
- 250gr Trix – 79.65% Sugar
- 45gr Trix – 19.78% Sugar
- 10gr Ice – 19.93% Sugar
A sample each of the 45gr Trix and the 10gr Ice was sent to the Produce Chemist Laboratory, Division of Agriculture for analysis and the result are as follows:
- Kent Boringer Trix Pineapple flavoured Powder Drink - 92.3% Brix
- Kent Boringer Ice Lemon flavoured Powder Drink - 92.8% Brix
(Brix measures the soluble dry substance in a product and thus provide an approximate measure of sugar content) copy of the analytical report attached for reference.
Besides sugar, other ingredients of the products in question include:
- Acidifier, Sugar Acid Regulator, Citric Acid (preservatives)
- Silicon Dioxide (anti-caking agent)
- Trisodium Citrate, Tricalcium Phosphate (acid regulator/stabilizer)
- Aspartame, Acesulfane-K (Sweeteners)
- Titanium Dioxide, Tartrazine, Beta Carotene (Colorants)
- Flavoring Agents
- Clouding Agents
The merchandise under consideration are sugar based drink mixes containing added flavoring and coloring matter. The dominant ingredient in the powdered beverage mixes at issue is sugar. Subheading 1701.91 is the appropriate classification of the powdered drink mixes.
Classification of these products in subheading 1701.91 of the HS is confirmed by the Explanatory Notes to the HS, which constitute the Customs Cooperation Council’s official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. They provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the tariff schedule, and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the system…[and] are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the various provisions of the convention.
Although the EN’s are not dispositive or binding on the court, they facilitate classification under the HS by offering direction in interpreting HS subheadings. The Courts have consistently followed the EN’s for guidance in interpreting the HS when the EN’s are persuasive and specifically include or exclude an item from a tariff heading as it does in this specific case.
The EN’s for heading 2106, state that “powders which have the character of flavoured or coloured sugars used in the preparation of lemonade and the like are not classifiable in HS heading 2106 but are classifiable in heading 1701 or 1702 as the case may be depending on their composition”.
The evidence on record indicates that these drink mixes contain in excess of 79% of sugar with other ingredients consisting of colourants, flavouring and preservatives. These types of products are specifically dealt with in Chapter 17 and excluded from heading 2106.
In view of the following facts, the flavoured powdered drink mixes at issue are properly classifiable under subheading 1701.91.00. Items classified under subheading 1701.91 are dutiable at the import duty rate of 40% ad valorem.
CLASSIFICATION OF JUICE AND JUICE CONCENTRATES IN HEADING 20.09
This Memorandum outlines Dominica’s Customs and Excise Divisions administrative policy for the classification of juice and juice concentrates of heading 20.09 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.
CLASSIFICATION OF JUICE AND JUICE
CONCENTRATES IN HEADING 20.09:
GUIDELINES AND GENERAL INFORMATION
- For the purposes of this Memorandum, the following definition applies:
“Juice is a liquid naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue, and prepared by mechanically
squeezing or macerating the fresh fruits or vegetables without the application of heat or solvents”
“Juices, unfermented and not containing added spirit” of heading 20.09 are those that have an
alcoholic strength not exceeding 0.5% by volume. (Note 6 to Chapter 20)
“Beverage means beverages of an alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 0.5% .
(Note 3 to Chapter 22)
“Character of beverages of heading 22.02” (See Note 3 to Chapter 22)
- Juices having a Brix Value of over 20 are generally considered concentrates. This threshold is set at 30 in the case of grape juice. These thresholds have been set by the HS in order to establish a reasonable cutoff point between single strength and concentrated juices. The above thresholds are not necessarily prescribed by the beverage industry (Sub-Heading note 3 to Chapter 20)
[Brix Value approximates the percentage of water soluble solids which in most cases reflects the amount of sugar present in the juice]
- In addition to being in the form of natural juice or a concentrate, products of heading 20.09 can also be
dehydrated crystals or powder, provided the crystals or powders are almost entirely soluble in water.
- Products of heading 20.09 may contain sugar and other sweetening substances, anti-fermentation and standardizing agents, salt and spices (in the case of vegetable juices), and/or other substances to restore the original balance of ingredients. However, to be classified in heading 20.09, fruit and vegetable juices must approximate the composition and essential character of extracts of fresh, healthy, and ripe
fruits and vegetables. (Explanatory Notes)
- The addition of vitamins and orange-flavoured sachets to an orange juice, for example, does not
exclude the latter from classification in heading 20.09, provided such additions are only in the amount
that may reasonably be lost in the manufacturing processes, and do not disturb the natural balance of
various elements in the juice. (Explanatory Notes Chapter 20)
- Extracted juices may undergo numerous processes that include clarification, filtration, de-aeration,
homogenization and sterilization. Juices undergoing these and/or other processes remain classified in
heading 20.09, provided these juices retain their natural balance of constituents.
(Explanatory Notes Chapter 20)
- The addition of water to a fruit or vegetable juice, or addition to the concentrates of such juices of more water than is needed to reconstitute the original natural juice, excludes these products from consideration in heading 20.09. Once diluted, such products usually have the character of beverages of heading 22.02. Addition of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide to fruit and vegetable juices transforms these juices into aerated juices that too, are classified in heading 22.02.
(Explanatory Notes Chapter 20)
- In order to qualify for classification in heading 20.09, juices must be obtained from fruit and vegetables that contain juice when fresh. Therefore, prune juice, when otherwise meeting specifications as in the preceding paragraphs, is classified in this heading. However, liquid products that are obtained by heating, in water, of fresh or dried fruits that do not contain juice in the natural form are excluded from heading 20.09. Liquids obtained from these fruits, such as juniper berries, are usually classified in heading 21.06 as food preparations not elsewhere specified or included.
(Explanatory Notes Chapter 20)
- The addition of minerals, vitamins, iron compounds, acids, and products generally known in the industry as food supplements, or health-promoting preservatives to fruit or vegetable juices, to an extent that clearly changes the natural balance of constituent elements within these juices, excludes the product from heading 20.09. Such products are classified in heading 22.02, or heading 21.06 in the
concentrate form. (Explanatory Note 12 & 16 to Chapter 20, Explanatory Note to Chapter 30))
- Addition to a juice of medicinal products or constituents in amounts that clearly have therapeutic and/or prophylactic uses excludes the juice from consideration under heading 20.09. Such products are generally classified in headings 30.03 and 30.04 as medicaments. (Explanatory Note to Chapter 30)
- Attention must be paid to the difference between the addition to a juice of what are considered health-promoting ingredients as opposed to medicinal constituents that have clear therapeutic and/or prophylactic uses. In the first instance, reference is made to ingredients that, in a general sense, promote good health. In the latter case, medicinal constituents must be of a kind that clearly demonstrate they cure, treat, or prevent specific ailments. (Explanatory Note to Chapter 30)
- Flavouring components of juice concentrates are usually reduced by a natural evaporation process. Such reduction does not exclude juice concentrates from consideration in heading 20.09.
(Explanatory Note to Chapter 20)
- Liquid products obtained by the addition of water and sugar syrup to crushed whole fruits (whether or not peeled, or stones and pips removed), or the addition of water and sugar to fruit purées, to the extent that render these products suitable for direct human consumption, are considered as fruit nectars and are classified in heading 22.02. Products that are produced in a similar manner but are made for
purposes other than human consumption as a beverage are classified in heading 20.08.
(Explanatory Note 5 to Heading 20.08
CLASSIFICATION OF JUICE AND JUICE
CONCENTRATES IN HEADING 20.09:
ISSUE: what products are classified in “HS 20.09?”
Law and Analysis
Classification of merchandise is in accordance with the general rules of interpretation taken in order. Rule #1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes
Heading 20.09 provides for fruit juices (including grape must) and vegetable juices, unfermented and not containing added spirit, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.
Heading 21.06 provides for food preparations not elsewhere specified or included.
Heading 22.02 provides for Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured, and other non-alcoholic beverages, not including fruit or vegetable juices of heading 20.09.
Fruit juice consumption internationally has increased, due to an increased public interest in health issues and that juices are perceived to be a healthy natural source of nutrients.
Popular juices include Citrus, Apple, Pineapple, Tomato, Passion fruit, Cranberry, Mango, Carrot, Grape, Cherry, Guava and Pomegranate.
It has become increasingly popular to combine a variety of fruit/vegetable juice into single packaged juices, and also to blend juices with other ingredients such as water and sweeteners. The terms “Juice Drinks”, “Juice Cocktail” and “Nectar” are used to describe any beverage which includes juice even if the juice content is 99% or 1% of the overall volume.
The explanatory notes for heading 20.09 state “ the addition of water to a normal fruit or vegetable juice, or the addition to a concentrated juice of a greater quantity of water than is necessary to reconstitute the original natural juice , results in a diluted product which has the character of a beverage of heading 22.02”
It should be noted however that according to interpretive rule 2(b ) which is legally binding, any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other material or substances.
It should also be noted that rule # 3(b) which is legally binding, further states when by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, mixed goods are classifiable under two or more headings, mixtures shall be classified as if they consisted the material which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
The question thus arises “at what percentage of combination with other substances would establish a reasonable cut off point for fruit or vegetable juices of HS 20.09 losing their essential character”?
The present position of the customs and excise division in Dominica is that a beverage which contains 30% or more of fruit or vegetable juice retains the essential character of the fruit or vegetable juice, and is therefore classifiable in HS 20.09, and any beverage which has less than 30% of fruit or vegetable juice loses the essential character of the fruit or vegetable juice, and shall be classified elsewhere.
This policy has been adopted for some time with direction given by the Ministry of Trade. Fruit and vegetable juices were included on the Negative List, which is a listing of items requiring a licence for importation. It was the Ministry of Trades policy that any drink which contained 30% or more of fruit or vegetable juice required a licence to be imported, while drinks containing less than 30% of fruit or vegetable juice would not require a licence, hence the rational.
However, since the removal of fruit or vegetable juices from the negative list, the trading community raised immediate justifiable concerns since the import duty of the said products had increased immensely as a result, from 20% to 135% of the CIF values, and in the case of orange juice from 20% to 150% of the CIF value. This represented an average increase of 712.5% overall.
One of the objectives of the Harmonized System is to have a uniform classification in its application of the nomenclature of goods throughout, but in the case of HS 20.09, the provisions of the interpretive rules proves challenging.
It has been recommended that each individual territory may use their national legislation to indicate to their Customs Organisations as to what vegetable/fruit juices are classifiable in HS 20.09. Through researching the policies in some of our neighbouring Caribbean islands re the goods category of juices of 20.09, there appears to be inconsistency.
80% juice-20% other, 70% juice-30% other and 50% juice-50% other are the most common examples.
Research has also shown that extra-regionally, most nations define a standard purity for a beverage to be considered a fruit juice. This name “Fruit Juice” as referred in HS20.09 are commonly reserved for beverages that are 100% pure fruit juice.
In the UK, as required by the Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars Regulations of both England and Scotland, the term fruit juice can only legally be used to describe a product which is 100% fruit juice. Comparable rules apply in all EU member states in their respective languages.
In the USA, fruit juice can only legally be used to describe a product which is 100% fruit juice. According to the “Food and Drug Administration”, the term “juice cocktail, “juice drink” and “nectar” is generally accepted in the U.S. and in international trade for a diluted juice to denote a beverage that contains fruit juice or puree, water and which may contain sweeteners. These diluted juices are generally classifiable in heading 22.02.
The Trade Policy and Interpretation Directorate of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has taken into consideration the guidelines as provided in the Explanatory Notes for heading 20.09 which gives direction that diluted juices usually have the character of the beverages specified in heading 22.02.
By Cabinet Decision No. 0986 dated November 8, 2011, states that the term Juice shall be applied to only drinks with with a 100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice and that it shall be applied as per Harmonised System and the CARICOM Regional Standards Specification for fruit and vegetable juices and fruit nectars; and that all drinks with less than a 100% fruit or vegetable juice shall be classified under Heading 22.02 as a beverage
The fruit and vegetable juices of Heading 20.09 are those that are 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and that diluted juices are generally classified in headings 22.02, 21.06, 20.08, 17.02, 30.03 and 30.04 respectively dependant on their composition.
Classification of a 1999 Mack Dump Truck model RD-688
The following is our decision regarding the classification and assessing of customs duties on a 1999 Mack vehicle Model RD-688 VIN# 1M2P324C3XM045129 imported into Dominica on the 6th January 2010.
The commercial invoice bears the following description
“1999 Mack RD-688, VIN# 1M2P324C3XM045129”
The Bill of lading describes the unit as a “1999 Mack Tractor Red”, while the ‘Certificate of Title” from the State of Florida issued 9th of December 2009 indicates that the unit is a truck.
The evidence on record indicates that this particular model is manufactured as a tandem axel steel dump truck. These units function primarily to move or transport goods under the provision in heading 8704 as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods.
The protestant maintains that the “1999 Mack RD-688” is a tractor of heading 8701, with evidence that a fifth wheel is apparently attached to the rear of the unit.
Is the subject unit classifiable as a tractor of HS 8701 or a dump truck of HS 8704?
Law and Analysis:
Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized System is in accordance with the general rules of interpretation. General rule 1(GR1), states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the heading and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to general rules 2 through 6.
Note 2 to chapter 87 of the HS states that the term “Tractor” is defined as a vehicle constructed essentially for hauling or pushing another vehicle, appliance or load, whether or not it contains subsidiary provision for the transport, in connection with the main use of the tractor, of tools, seeds, fertilizers or other goods.
Design characteristics common to tractors includes the following:
- Power take off (PTO) – A splined driveshaft usually on a tractor or truck used to provide power
to an attachment or separate machine . It allows implements to draw
energy from the engine.
- Fifth Wheel Coupling – The fifth wheel provides the link between a trailer or semi-trailer and the
towing truck or tractor unit. The coupling consists of a coupling pin (or
king pin) on the front of the trailer and a horseshoe shaped coupling
device called a fifth wheel on the rear of the towing vehicle.
- Braking System - A breaking system dedicated to supply air to the trailer brakes
- Electrical System - An electrical system to provide power to the trailer.
The “1999 Mack RD-688” gives no indication that it can be used for the intended purpose as a tractor.
- There is no evidence of the needed apparatus normally located at the outside rear of tractor cabs with the essential connectors linking the tractors to the trailers.( this is vital in order to connect the trailers foot and hand brakes to the tractor and also to provide current to the trailers for the brake lights and signal lights among others).
- There is no evidence of an electrical system intended to provide power to the trailer
- Though there is a fifth wheel attached on the rear of the vehicle, on examination it appeared odd that it was feebly attached and doesn’t appear to have the capacity to handle the weight associated with road trailers.
- There are four steel pivots at the extreme end of the vehicle extending vertically approximately 5 inches in order to hook the dump box unto the truck. Because of this it would be very difficult or even impossible to allow a trailer to back-up to the tow truck enabling the coupling pin to attach to the fifth wheel.
- There is a visible hydraulic tank located at the outside rear of the cab. A device for raising and lowering a dump box
- There is a PTO up down device in the cab in-between the passenger and driver’s seat to lift and lower the dump box
- There are no buttons on the dash board to control and provide air to the trailers braking system. The driver should have full control of the trailer at all times avoiding dangerous situations such as “ jack knifes” (the only button noticeable is for the handbrake of the actual truck)
The 1999 Mack RD-688, VIN# 1M2P324C3XM045129 is classified as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods in heading 8704, and dutiable at the rate of 5% Import Duty, 4% Customs Service Charge, 28% Excise Tax and 15% VAT ad valorem (CIF), and $3000.00 Environmental Surcharge.
Declaration C30851 23.11.11
Sample #22; Line # 53
Coconut Water is classified in HS 2017 Tariff subheading 2202.99.91 as Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured, and other non-alcoholic beverages, not including fruit or vegetable juices of heading 20.09.
Customs duties and taxes are collected on most imports with the exception when granted exemptions. One major exemption originates from Fiscal Incentive programs which are granted by Governments to Enterprises, Organizations, Companies and Individuals in order to encourage investment in the manufacturing, small business, agriculture, agro industry and service sectors.
The intent of granting fiscal incentives is to contribute to national development, and improve the quality of life for the citizenry of the States.
The Fiscal Incentive Unit of the Customs Division is responsible for administering duty free exemptions. Legal basis:
- Customs Act #20 of 2010
- The Hotels Aid Act, Chapter 85:04
- The Income Tax Act, Chapter 67:01
- Value Added Tax Act, No. 7 of 2005
- Tourism (Standards and Regulations) Act, No. 19
- Any other enactment relating to the importation/exportation of goods in the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Courier services are distinguished from other ordinary shipping services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of express services, and swift delivery times. Couriers are usually more expensive than standard shipping services, and their use is normally limited to packages where one or more of these features are considered important enough to warrant the cost.
In August, 2014, a “de minimis” regime was implemented as a valuation ceiling for goods imported via courier, below which no duty or tax will be charged. The system allowed goods with a total cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value not exceeding EC$150 and which are not alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or commercial goods to be exempt from the payment of all customs duties and other taxes.
This resulted in the reduction of clearance procedures including data requirements, thus saving much needed time and costs to the importers.
Customs will verify the eligibility requirements and release the cargo to the Courier Agents under the DIMINIMIS System, ensuring that they qualify and are not over the CIF $150.00 umbrella.
During the verification process, Suppliers Invoices and freight amounts are required to be submitted by the Courier Agents, and that all packages listed on the Manifests are accounted for at the end of exercise.
The following are updated guidelines to be adhered to by the Courier Agents for the processing of the courier packages:
1. Any person in Dominica may import goods for personal/commercial use by courier services, subject to the following conditions:
I. The goods are not prohibited or restricted for import into Dominica.
II. In case an import permit/license is required – an application must be submitted to the competent authority for approval, prior to importation of the goods. On receipt of the license/permit, a detailed declaration must be submitted to customs.
III. Goods are subject to customs control and all applicable duties and taxes must be paid prior to delivery of the goods.
IV. Only the Courier agent/Small Package Consolidator, is authorized to transact courier cargo clearance functions at customs, except if the consignment is of a commercial nature (see 10 below)
2. Imported goods may qualify for De minimis treatment if the following conditions are met:
a) Must have a declared or assessed C.I,F value up to $150.00 XCD;
b) Are not alcoholic beverages
c) Are not cigars, cigarettes, or tobacco products,
d) Are not imported for commercial (resale), industrial (manufacturing), occupational (job or work related), institutional (churches schools, hospitals, etc.), or other similar purposes
3. The Importer is responsible for declaring the contents of the consignment.
4. The importer must verify with the supplier that the shipping documents (invoice, freight bill etc.), matches the goods being imported and that the details provided regarding the purchase transaction, including the price of the goods, are accurate.
5. In accordance with Sections 45,186,187 and 189 of the Customs Act #20 of 2010, which deals with importation of goods, submission of documents and payment of duty, discrepancies between the actual goods and their description, classification, and value on the import declaration/parcel label, constitutes sufficient grounds for seizing the goods, even if the false declaration was made without the importers’ knowledge.
6. In case of a false declaration, customs may institute legal proceedings or impose hefty penalties against the importer (the person who the goods are consigned to), in addition to payment of the applicable duties and taxes, and the goods are liable to forfeiture.
7. If the goods do not qualify for de minimis treatment, the Courier Agents/Small Package Consolidators will pay the duties and taxes on pre-alerted cargo (i.e. consignments with accompanying supplier’s invoices) on the importer’s behalf. This arrangement covers non-commercial shipments only.
8. If the goods are of a commercial nature, the importer may authorize a registered customs broker/Tariff Clerk to act on his/her behalf.
9. All importations are subject to physical examination by customs. During the sorting process, packages may be opened in order to verify the contents and/or the value.
10. Consignments which are not pre-alerted will not be cleared during the sorting process, but instead be secured at the courier facilities/shed #5, to be subsequently dealt with by customs.
11. Importers can request from their Courier Agents/Small Package Consolidators a receipt containing the classification of the goods, the transaction number, and a breakdown of the duties and taxes paid.
12. Customs will utilize available data, knowledge and competence to the extent possible, to determine consignments on which no customs duties and taxes will be collected, aside from certain prescribed goods. The importers history, (Type, frequency and quantity of imports) may be taken into account when determining the qualification of his/her consignment for De minimis treatment.
13. Importers may experience delays in receiving packages, if the information provided to the Courier Agent/Small Package Consolidator is unreliable, incomplete or non-verifiable on examination by customs.
NB - In order to maintain the integrity at the facilities, both enablers i.e. Customs and Courier Agents should have physical locks to all entrances where the imported consignments are stored for better management and control.
Management of unclaimed goods.
1 - Where imported goods that are placed in a temporary storage facility (Transit Shed) under customs control are unclaimed goods, i.e. goods for which a declaration has not been submitted within the relevant period as stipulated in Sec 38 (1) (13) of the Customs Act #20 of 2010:
- In the case of goods imported by sea, a period of 14 days from importation;
- In the case of goods imported by air, a period of 7 days from importation;
2 - Where imported goods are stored in a customs bonded warehouse that have exceeded the time frames provided for the temporary storage in respect of the customs bonded warehouse in keeping with Sec 69 of the Customs Act;
3 – Where Goods sent by mail which have been refused by the receiver, or the addressee cannot be found, and the goods cannot be returned to the sender; and
4 – Where the owner of imported goods abandons the means of transportation without any restriction which are at the customs clearance area;
the Comptroller of Customs shall make an inventory of the unclaimed goods, and the goods shall be transferred to the Queens Warehouse at the Deep Water Harbour in preparation for sale by public auction or otherwise to be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Customs Act.
The Comptroller shall publish, in the Gazette, and in such other medium and method as the Comptroller considers appropriate, a notice requiring the owner of the goods to claim the goods, within seven days to one month from the date of the publication of the notice. (Sec 200 (2) of the Customs Act)
The notice referred to shall contain—
(a) The description and location of the goods;
(b) The date after which the goods will be disposed of through public auction; and
(c) The contact particulars of the customs office responsible for control of the goods.
This seven days to one month window gives a reasonable timeframe to inform the owner of the goods that the goods are considered as unclaimed goods and shall be sold at public auction.
The Comptroller shall sell any goods which are of a perishable nature in such manner as appears to him most likely to realize the largest sum (Sec 200 (6) of the Customs Act)
NB - All expenses incurred while unclaimed goods are under customs control shall be borne by the owner of the unclaimed goods.
CUSTOMS & EXCISE DIVISION
Public Auction Rules
- All bidders must meet the Auctioneer’s qualifications to bid. Any bidder who is not a customer in good standing with the auctioneer may be disqualified and will not be allowed to participate in the auction. The Auctioneer reserves the right to disqualify any bidder even after the close of the auction.
- To bid on an item, attract the attention of the auctioneer by raising your hand and voice at the appropriate time as high as you can to out - bid the last bidder
- Each bid legally obligates the bidder to pay the bid price in full if his or her bid is deemed final at the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer or at the end of the auctioneer’s count. (Default in payment or refusal to pay the price in full constitutes an offense which may result in financial penalties).
- The auction will be fast paced and bids must be made quickly.
- Bidding is closed only by the auctioneer.
- The auctioneer is the only party allowed to determine that a bid has been placed. If the auctioneer misses a bid, the missed party has no right to have the bid reinstated.
- Decisions of the auctioneer are final.
- All items are generally sold "as is," without guarantee made to their value, function or genuineness.
- Most items offered at the auction are given an estimated value by the auctioneer. This valuation is only an estimate and is not a guarantee of the object's resale value or its worth.
- Once an object has been legally transferred over to the winning bidder, the auctioneer ceases to hold any liability over the object. Any damages incurred due to its use or misuse is not the auctioneer’s responsibility.
- Although items may be listed on auction list as being available for bidding, the auctioneer reserves the right to remove items from bidding at any time, for any reason.
- All items successfully purchased must be removed by the winning bidder within a time period set out beforehand by the auctioneer. The expenses incurred in moving the items are the winning bidder's alone.
- You Must Pay Immediately
The Customs Auctioneer requires that winning bidders pay all or part of the winning bid immediately after the auction. Failure to do so may result in financial penalties or the forfeiture of the item.
- The Customs Auctioneer Has Final Say
All disputes over matters related to bidding are referred to the auctioneer, who has final say.
Persons interested in establishing a Customs Bonded Warehouse must first decide the type or class of warehouse they are interested in. There are three types of Bonded Warehouses in Dominica:
- Private- one operator who is also the owner of the cargo (One Owner)
- General – one operator with Multiple Cargo Owners
- Showcase – Vehicles (on display for showroom and test drives)
The following procedures pertain to Bonded Warehouses for the deposit, keeping and security of imported goods chargeable with customs duties. (Part VIII of the Customs Act #20 of 2010)
To apply, the individual must forward a written application to the Comptroller of Customs.In that letter, the individual should identify the type of warehouse, the location, the type of goods, a projected annual value of goods and a description of the premises to be used.The Comptroller shall review the application. This will include in addition a review of the applicant’s background, business activity and capacity.The Comptroller, through a designated officer(s), shall conduct an evaluation of the premises to ensure that it meets customs standards.
The following are the Customs & Excise Division’s standards which must be met in order to establish a Bonded Warehouse:
- Adequate Security
- Exterior / Interior Lighting
There shall be a single access to the building facilitating both entry and exit points. The entrance and exit points shall connect directly to a public road. This will guarantee customs unfettered access to the property. Entrance to Bonded Warehouses shall operate with a double locking system except in cases of Open Warehouses. In the event that the property is fenced, there shall be a similar double locking system.
The owner shall ensure that the conditions in the Bonded Warehouses are suited for both customs and warehouse operator employees warranting that they will be comfortable while administering their duties. Natural and or mechanical airflow should be incorporated into the structure to facilitate a comfortable workspace.
- Adequate Security
Based on the strict nature of the legislation, safety and security has to be a major focus for the Warehouse Operators taking into account that customs duties are owed on the goods deposited in the Bonded Warehouses. The buildings should be secure and equipped with burglar bars. In-house and exterior closed circuit surveillance will boost security levels.
To mitigate losses in unanticipated circumstances it is mandatory that an appropriate cargo and liability insurance be procured.
- Interior/ Exterior Lighting
Interior lighting should be adequate to facilitate proper working conditions within the Bonded Warehouses. This shall ensure that both employees and the customs officers are able to carry out their functions safely and efficiently. Proper lighting can also act as a deterrent against pilferage as well as reduce damages which may occur due to poor lighting.
Exterior lights provide safe and open access for customs. It also acts as a deterrent against intended illegal activities. In the cases of vehicle bonds the exterior fenced area of the facility should be visible to customs at all times.
Upon meeting Customs standards and prior to commencement of operations the individual shall be required to do the following:
- Establish Security Bond
- Pay License Fee
- Establishing a customs Bond
Prior to commencement of operations the Warehouse Operator shall be required to post a security bond with a financial institution of his/her choice (Commercial Bank, Credit Union or Insurance Company).
The bond shall be of an approximate amount sufficient to cover the duty liability of the goods projected to be stowed within the Bonded Warehouse. Ref: Customs Act 2010 S. 66(5) (b)
- License Fee
An annual license fee of;
- $750.00 EC shall be paid in order to operate a Private Warehouse.
- $1,000.00 EC shall be paid in order to operate a General Warehouse
Upon Payment of required fees, the establishing of the appropriate security bond, and meeting all the above listed requirements, the Comptroller shall grant the relevant License for the operating of the Customs Bonded Warehouse
Information on Warehousing can be found in greater detail in Part XIII of the Customs Act #20 of 2010.