Entry and Documentation...
Import licenses are not required for most products, however, pharmaceuticals, drugs, cosmetics, chemical products (solvents and precursor chemicals) require an import permit from the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. Food products that are newtomarket require registration and phytosanitary and health certification. These permits must be obtained by the Costa Rican importer.Import permits from the Ministry of Health are valid for five years. Arms and munitions require a license from the Costa Rican Ministry of Security. Upon the presentation of an import license and the appropriate documentation, Costa Rican customs officials will classify the products, assess the relevant duties, and finalize the entry.
Documentation ... Costa Rican customs officials require no special documentation for entry of goods other than commercial invoices, bills of lading, and air waybills for shipments irrespective of cargo value. Mail shipments require postal documentation. Bulk agricultural products require phytosanitary certificates. Import permits from the Ministry of Health are provided after presentation of certificate of analysis (quantitative quality certificates) for chemicals (toxic substances, insecticides, pesticides and agricultural inputs). Cosmetics, dairy food products, and freesale certificates are also required, all of them authenticated by a Costa Rican consulate.
Tariff classification is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as the Harmonized System.
Import taxes are calculated as follows:
Surcharge (Law 6966) - levied on CIF value only.
As a member of the System of
Central American Integration (formerly Central American Common Market -
CACM comprised of Costa Rica, El Salvador,
and Honduras) Costa Rica has a common external
tariff schedule in which customs duties range from a maximum of 20% ad
valorem with a minimum tariff of 5%, with certain exceptions including
Other Import Charges
Costa Rica is known as a "maquila" or offshore countryoffering the temporary duty-free of parts for assembly and subsequent re-export.Other kinds of temporary entries, such as samples for exhibitions or demonstrations, need a customs bond covering total import duties of the sample. This bond will be reimbursed to the importer after the goods have been reexported.
Free Trade Zones and Warehouses
Labeling, Marking, and Packaging
Costa Rica uses U.S. and European commercial and product standards.
Restricted or Prohibited Products
The Government of Costa Rica prohibits the importation of used tires without wheels. This is a sanitary regulation aimed at protecting the country from the yellow fever mosquito. Besides this prohibition, there are no other restrictions on the importation of products.
Costa Rican exports must be registered with the Central Bank, mainly for statistical purposes. Further, the Government maintains export controls on some products. Exports of livestock, wood and ornamental plants require a license from the Ministry of Agriculture. Metal scrap is subject to an export license from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines. Coffee exports are regulated by the National Costa Rican Coffee Institute (INCAFE). Sugar exports are regulated by the sugar cane organization known as "Liga Agricola de la Carta de Azucar" (LAICA). Gold cannot be exported, and must be sold to the Central Bank at the market rate.
Costa Rica has a free trade agreement with Mexico which eliminates tariffs over 10 years on products traded between the two countries.Costa Rica is also a member of the WTO and therefore agrees to assess the same duty on imports from any other WTO member nation. In addition, Costa Rica is a beneficiary of the CBI which allows duty-free access to the U.S. for most goods manufactured in the Caribbean Basin. The major products exempt from CBI benefits are textiles, apparel, watches and petroleum products. Costa Rica benefits from free trade with Central American common market countries. Costa Rica has begun negotiating a free trade agreement with Colombia and Venezuela.
Direccion General de Aduanas