America Books & Music
of Central America
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Entry and Documentation Generally,
in order to import merchandise, the following documents are required:
Commercial Invoices (legalized at
the Guatemalan Embassy or one of its Consulates)
Bills of Lading (same as above)
Import License (only for the import
of wheat flour)Storage charges are incurred if goods are not cleared within
15 to 30 calendar days from the date of entry into the customhouse of destination,
or if the merchandise is not withdrawn from customs within five calendar
days following liquidation. For clearing of all commercial shipments, other
than parcel post, an authorized customs broker is required. A standard
customs form, different from an importer's declaration, is used in clearing
merchandise originating from within the Central American Common Market.
All import declarations shall be presented together with the bill of lading,
commercial invoice and other documents required by law, in original form
and with the appropriate number of copies. If one of the above mentioned
documents is missing, the customs officials may authorize clearance of
the good under a cash deposit, thus granting the interested party 60 days
to present the missing documents. Merchandise deposited at customs will
be considered abandoned when request for clearance of merchandise is not
made within 60 days after the date of receipt by the customhouse or when
the merchandise is not withdrawn within 30 days from the cancellation of
the importer's declaration.
All Guatemalan imports, except
those imported under special industrial incentive programs and direct government
imports, are subject to the common external tariff of the Central American
Common Market. Tariff classification is based on the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System generally referred to as the Harmonized System.
Most of the items are subject
to ad valorem duty rate based on the CIF value at the port of entry.
Tariff Ranges and Charges
As a member of the System of
Central American Integration (formerly Central American Common Market -
CACM comprised of Costa Rica, El
and Honduras) Guatemala 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
A 7% Value
Added Tax (IVA) applies to most imported goods at the point of entry.
The 7% will be increased to 10% in 1996. A 3% customs surcharge is also
assessed on imports.
Guatemala's 1989 drawback and
export promotion law allows duty and tax free entry of: raw materials,
intermediate products, and packaging and labels used in the production
or assembly of merchandise exported to markets outside Central America.
Free Trade Zones and Warehouses
The "ZOLIC" free trade zone
at Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla, adjacent to Guatemala's principal port
on the Atlantic coast, and the Grupo Zeta Free Zone located in the town
of Palin near Guatemala
City, offer exemption from payment of all duties and taxes
employer social security contributions). Legislation passed in 1989 allows
the establishment of privately owned and operated free trade zones and
provides export incentives for maquila and other export oriented industries.
Labeling, Marking and Packaging
Importers must register any
food product to be imported with the Department for the Registry and Control
of Foodstuffs. The registration is valid for one year. In addition to the
range of product information required for registration, Guatemalan law
officially require that foreign products contain Spanish language labeling
indicating the ingredients, registration number, and expiration date of
the product.Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and hygiene products must be included
in the Sanitary Registry (Registro Sanitario) of the Ministry of Public
Health and Social Assistance prior to being sold in Guatemala.
The market has been largely
selfregulating in packaged quantities and product quality.
Restricted or Prohibited Imports
The Ministry of Defense's Department
for the Control of Arms and Munitions (DECAM) enforces a law which virtually
prohibits the import of offensive weapons, a category encompassing automatic
weapons, as well as a wide range of military weapons and hardware.
Trade Agreements and Preferences
As a signatory to the Central
American Common Market (CACM), Guatemala also extends a common external
tariff to member nations ranging from 5 -20% on most products of non-CACM
origin, and has duty-free access to the markets of CACM countries. As a
beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Generalized
System of Preferences (GSP), Guatemala enjoys duty-free access for most
exports to the United States. The major products exempt from CBI preferences
are textiles, apparel, watches, and petroleum products.
The Law for the Development
of Export and Draw Back Activity is one of two Guatemalan laws granting
incentives to exporting companies.The law grants fiscal incentives both
to direct and indirect exporters. To enjoy these benefits companies must
apply to the Directorate of Industrial Policy of the Ministry of Economy.
Direccion General de Aduanas
Ministerio De Finanzas Publicas
10a Calle 13-92, Zona 1
Phone: 80651-80652, 80653
General Trade Division of the
Ministry of Economy
Ave. La Reforma 12-01
Edificio Reforma Montufar
Torre "B", 4o. Nivel