Americas

Export to The Americas

Besides Suriname, Guyana and a few Caribbean islands, the Americas are overwhelmingly LHD countries. We are the largest exporter of Thailand made vehicles to the RHD countries of the Americas and are now beginning to make inroads in the Left Hand Drive countries of the Americas. If you need to reach us please send us an email at jim12cars@gmail.com.

North America

Canada

Vehicles Purchased Overseas Residents of Canada cannot normally import a car from overseas countries unless it is at least 15 years old. The relatively few exceptions to this rule can be found in CCRA publications.

Import rules vary depending on your vehicle’s age, its country of origin and the country from which you are importing it. You need a good understanding of the import regulations administered by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA), Transport Canada and, for shipments from overseas, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). At the provincial level, there are vehicle-licensing, emissions-testing and sales tax requirements to be considered.

The Paper Trail.

Your copy of the vehicle’s foreign registration document will establish its age and country of export. You should also have a bill of sale that clearly identifies the vehicle (year, make, model and vehicle identification number). The bill of sale should also contain the names and addresses of the vendor and purchaser and the price paid for the vehicle.

Your file folder will expand as you receive the documents generated by the companies involved in shipping your car to Canada. If you have a low tolerance for red tape, consider using the services of a customs broker. For a fee, the broker will relieve you of your paper burden and will prepare and present the forms required to obtain customs clearance for your car.

Upon arrival at Customs, a qualifying vehicle will be entered into the RIV program. The registration fee is $197 in Quebec and $182 in other provinces. Within 45 days, the vehicle must be altered at your expense to meet Transport Canada requirements (it may need daytime running lights and metric labels for instruments, for example). You won’t be able to register and license the car in Canada until it is modified and inspected. The RIV Web site contains a list of eligible vehicles and detailed information about typical modification and inspection requirements.

Vehicles imported from overseas must be thoroughly cleaned before shipment to Canada in order to remove soil and plant material. The CFIA will inspect your vehicle, at your expense, to ensure that this requirement has been met. If your car fails the inspection, you will be responsible for the cost of a thorough cleaning and a second inspection.

Import Fees

Vehicles that are eligible for importation will be subject to import levies including customs duty and GST. Customs duty is generally based on the price paid for the vehicle and the percentage rate of duty varies depending on the vehicle’s country of origin.

If your collector car has air conditioning, working or not, you will pay an excise tax of $100. There are additional levies if your vehicle weighs more than 2,007 kilograms (4,425 pounds).

Finally, GST will be charged at the rate of seven per cent of the total of the purchase price plus the customs levies.

Provincial Requirements

When you have satisfied all the import requirements, a critical document called a Vehicle Import Form will be given to you by customs, your broker or the RIV program, depending on the circumstances of your importation. Without this piece of paper, you will get only a blank stare from your provincial licensing authorities.

Before heading off to your licensing bureau, you’ll need to satisfy the provincial requirements. In Ontario, for example, your car must pass a safety-standards inspection. You will also need a Drive Clean inspection certificate if the vehicle is more than three model years old and less than 20 years old.

In addition to the fees for registering your newly imported car, provincial authorities may collect sales tax on the price you paid for the vehicle. Don’t bother asking why provincial sales tax applies to a sales transaction that occurred outside Canada.

From a useful article of which extracts are reproduced here written by Murry Jackson on his experience of exporting a used car into Canada.

For customs information about importing vehicles into Canada, contact the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency’s automated information service free of charge at 1-800-461-9999. You can also find information on the CCRA’s Web site at www.ccra.gc.ca

For Transport Canada information about importing vehicles that were manufactured for sale in the U.S., contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles, 405 The West Mall, Toronto M9C 5K7; telephone: 1-888-848-8240; Web site: www.riv.ca . For other vehicles, contact Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, Transport Canada, 8th floor, Place de Ville, Tower C, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa K1A 0N5; telephone: 1-800-333-0371; Web site: www.tc.gc.ca

For information about Canadian Food Inspection Agency requirements, contact an Import Service Centre in Montreal (telephone 1-877-493-0468), Toronto (1-800-835-4486) or Vancouver (1-888-732-6222). The CFIA’s Web address is www.cfia-acia.agr.ca

Duties: There are no customs duties on Canadian imports from the United States of motor vehicles or of automotive parts that meet the NAFTA rule of origin (in essence, 62.5 percent of the value of the vehicle must originate within NAFTA). Vehicles and components that do not comply with the rule of origin are subject to a 6.5 percent duty.

Taxes: All transactions are also subject to a “goods and services” tax (GST) of 7 percent, which is collected on the sum of the Customs-valued import and applicable duty. Vehicles with air conditioning and vehicles weighing more than 4,425 pounds are subject to an excise tax of $100 Canadian.

Safety and Emissions Compliance: Most vehicles less than 15 years old (actual date of manufacture, not the “model year”), or buses manufactured on or after January 1, 1971, that exhibit a certification plate attesting compliance with U.S. federal motor vehicle safety and emission standards may be imported, so long as any recall notices issued subsequent to manufacture have been satisfied. These vehicles must be entered into Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) Program upon crossing the border.

The RIV Program assures that qualifying vehicles are modified, inspected, and certified to meet Canadian safety standards. The RIV Program registration fee is $182 Canadian in all provinces, except Quebec where it is $197 Canadian. All vehicles must be brought into conformity with Canadian safety and emissions regulations within 45 days of entry (See: http://www.tc.gc.ca/acts-regulations/general/m/mvsa/regulations/mvsrg/toc_mvsrg.htm.)

What is the RIV?

The Registrar of Imported Vehicles is the organization that certifies the compliance of imported American vehicles to Canadian safety standards (under contract with Transport Canada). All United States vehicles imported into Canada must be inspected by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (currently done at Canadian Tire stores across the country) and certified as meeting Canadian standards. A dealer specializing in cross-border sales can help consumers with the importing process and RIV procedures. Consumers who wish to contact RIV directly can go to the RIV website at www.riv.ca

Mexico

Tariffs: Mexican import duties on cars and trucks produced in the U.S. or Canada that meet the NAFTA rule of origin were reduced to zero on January 1, 2003, one year ahead of schedule. Mexico maintains a 20 percent tariff on U.S. and Canadian vehicles not meeting the NAFTA rule of origin and on vehicles from all other countries, except members of the EU and Brazil. Vehicles that comply with the Mexico-EU free trade agreement (MEFTA) also enter duty free, but remain subject to quota restrictions until 2007. Imports in excess of the quota (15 percent of the previous year’s total market for similar vehicles) are subject to a 10 percent duty. Up to 50,000 new vehicles per year manufactured in Brazil enter at an 8 percent tariff rates, in accordance with an agreement between the two countries. Additional units are subject to a rate of 20 percent.

Taxes: The Mexican Value Added Tax (VAT) is 10 percent for vehicles that are registered in the Northern border region. The VAT for the remainder of the country is 15 percent. The VAT is assessed on the sum of the Customs value of the vehicle, plus import duty, plus the Customs processing fee of 0.8 percent of the Customs value.

United States

The United States Government (USG) does not prohibit the importation of used vehicles. However, imported used vehicles must comply with the same safety and environmental regulations as any other vehicle sold in the United States during the year it was produced. This restriction makes importing almost an impossibility.

The United States Department of Transport has a website explaining the rules about importing a non-Canadian or American manufactured car into America.

There are a variety of rules to follow to make sure that the car meets specific safety standards and emission guidelines.

You can read more on these pages:

DOT import homepage

Importation and certification FAQ

Vehicle importation guidelines and list of companies that conform vehicles to US standards.

List of vehicles which can be modified to conform to US standards Look here to see which car to buy as it can be modified when imported into America.

Find how much import duty to pay on your car with the United States Interactive Trade Commission database.

US Customs import homepage

VEHICLE IMPORTATION GUIDELINES FROM NHTSA

(Vehicles Manufactured for Sale in a Country Other than Canada)
January 9, 2006

The following provides information concerning the importation of a passenger car, truck, trailer, motorcycle, bus, or multi-purpose passenger vehicle (MPV) that was not originally manufactured to comply with U.S. or Canadian safety standards. Importers of motor vehicles must file an HS-7 Declaration form (available at ports of entry or at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import) at the time a vehicle is imported to identify the basis for the vehicle’s entry into the United Sates. As a general rule, a motor vehicle less than 25 years old must comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) to be imported on a permanent basis. Vehicles (other than motorcycles) manufactured to comply with the FMVSS will have a certification label affixed by the original manufacturer in the area of the driver-side door. Motorcycles will have the label close to the intersection of the steering post and the handlebars. To make importation easier, when purchasing abroad a vehicle certified to the U.S. standards, a buyer should have the seller verify in the sales contract that the label is attached and present this document at the time of importation.

A vehicle without a certification label cannot be imported as a conforming vehicle. In this case, the importer must contract with a Registered Importer (RI) to modify the vehicle and post a DOT Conformance Bond in an amount equivalent to one and a half times the vehicle’s dutiable value. This bond is in addition to the normal Customs entry bond. Copies of the DOT Conformance Bond and the contract with an RI must be attached to the HS-7 form.

Under the contract, the RI will modify the vehicle and certify that it conforms to all applicable FMVSS. Before an RI can modify a vehicle, NHTSA must have determined that the vehicle is eligible for importation based on its capability of being modified to conform to all applicable FMVSS. If no determination has been made, the RI must petition NHTSA to determine whether the vehicle is eligible for importation. If the petitioned vehicle is not similar to one sold in the U.S., this process can become very complex and costly. A list of vehicles that have been determined eligible for importation can be found on NHTSA’s web site at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import.

Since the cost of modifying a nonconforming vehicle, or the time required to bring it into conformance, may affect the decision to purchase a vehicle abroad, we strongly recommend discussing these matters with an RI before buying and shipping a vehicle to the U.S.

For federal regulations concerning vehicle emissions, contact the Environmental Protection Agency, Certification and Compliance Division – Imports Program, 2000 Traverwood, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, (734) 214-4100, or visit the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/. Information concerning duty or other Customs matters can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling that agency at 1-877-CUSTOMS.

For information regarding titling, registration, or operation of a properly imported vehicle in a specific state, we advise you to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or other appropriate agency in that state.

RIs who conform vehicles manufactured for sale in countries other than Canada are listed below.

An RI is an independent business and may be selective in terms of the work it performs. A list of RIs can be found at NHTSA website.

Safety Regulations

Any vehicle sold in the United States is required to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) as set by the federal government and administered by the Department of Transportation, (DOT). FMVSS requires vehicles to have certain safety equipment and to be engineered in a manner that is codified by the standards, to mitigate personal injury in the event of an accident. Motor vehicles not more than 25 years old must conform to the DOT motor vehicle safety standards that were in effect when these vehicles were manufactured. There are no separate regulations for imported vehicles.

Importers of motor vehicles must file a form (HS-7) at the time a vehicle is imported into the U.S. to declare whether the vehicle complies with DOT requirements. A vehicle without a certification label must be imported as a nonconforming vehicle and the importer must then register with a DOT-Registered Importer (RI) and post a bond with DOT for one and a half times the vehicle’s dutiable value. The cost and time needed to bring a vehicle into conformance can be substantial.

The National Highway Traffic Administration’s home page (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/) provides an excellent description of what you need to do.

Foreign-made vehicles imported into the United States are dutiable at the following rates:

  • Auto 2.5 %
  • Trucks 25 %
  • Motorcycles Either free or 2.4 %

The following passenger cars, light-duty trucks, heavy-duty engines and motorcycles are subject to Federal emission standards:

  • Gasoline-fueled cars and light-duty trucks originally manufactured after December 31, 1977
  • Diesel-fueled cars originally manufactured after December 31, 1974
  • Diesel-fueled light-duty trucks originally manufactured after December 31, 1975
  • Heavy-duty engines originally manufactured after December 31, 1979
  • Motorcycles with a displacement of more than 49 cubic centimeters originally manufactured after December 31, 1977

What is a Registered Importer?

A registered importer is a company licensed by the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration to certify that imported vehicles meet United States safety standards. When vehicles (less than 25 years old) are imported into the United States from other countries, including Canada, the vehicles must be certified as meeting American safety standards. This certification can be provided by the manufacturer (as long as the vehicle is for personal use and not for resale). If the manufacturer refuses to provide the certification (or if the vehicle is imported for resale), the certification must be provided by a registered importer. Consumers who want to purchase Canadian vehicles and dealers who are importing Canadian vehicles for resale may contact NAATA to find a reputable registered importer that services your area.

What is an ICI?

An ICI is an “independent commercial importer”. These are companies licensed to certify that vehicles imported from countries other than Canada meet United States safety and emissions standards.

Central America and the Caribbean

CARICOM Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM):

Member states: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas (member of the Community, not the Common Market), Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago; associate members: B.V.I. and the Turks and Caicos; Observers: Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

On June 30, 1993, most member states reduced the automobile tariff from 45 percent to 35 percent. The Bahamas, Montserrat, St Kitts-Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda did not adopt the tariff reduction. The Community were supposed to reduce this rate to 20 percent by 1998, with truck tariffs remaining at 10 percent. It is unclear which members actually adopted this change. Belize will implement all tariff reductions two years behind other members, and the Bahamas will continue to maintain its own tariff schedule of 50 percent for automobiles. Customs surcharges, stamp taxes, and consumption taxes vary between countries, but most fall within the 40 to 100 percent range. For the most up to date information please contact the customs office of each individual country.

Dominican Republic

Tariffs: The Dominican Republic assesses all imported new and used passenger vehicles (except pick-up trucks) with a flat tariff of 30 percent. Pick-up trucks and other trucks with cargo capacity of five tons or less, buses, bus chassis, and passenger vehicle chassis with engines are assessed the 30 percent tariff but are not subject to the Selective Consumption Tax (ISC). Trucks with cargo capacity of over five tons and their chassis, truck tractors, ambulances, hearses, prison vans, fire-fighting vehicles, and concrete mixers have a ten percent duty and are not subject to the ISC. All other special purpose vehicles have a 15 percent tariff and pay no ISC.
Taxes: The Dominican Republic assesses all imported new and used passenger vehicles (except pick-up trucks) with a variable ISC, and an eight percent sales tax. The tariff amount is not included in the calculation of the ISC; however, the sales tax is assessed on the sum of the vehicle’s value plus the tariff plus the ISC. The DR modified the ISC by Presidential Decree #66-94 on March 25, 1994; it is now based on value rather than engine size. The table below explains the rates:

Dominican Republic ISC Tax Table

Price U.S. $

Basic-R.D. $ (%)*

Marginal Excess (%)

0 – 7,000

0 0

0

7,001 – 10,000

0 0

15

10,001 – 14,000

5,625 (4)

30

14,001 – 20,000

20,625 (12)

45

20,001 – 26,000

54,375 (21)

60

26,001 – 32,000

99,375 (30)

80

32,001 and above

— (45)

*The percentages in parentheses indicate what the basic tax rate is for vehicles priced at the beginning of each range (using an exchange rate of 12.8 RD$/US$). The second percentage applies to the excess over the beginning value of the range. As an example, a car priced at US $12,000 would be subject to the basic amount of RD $5,625 or US $439, plus the marginal amount of US $600 (30 percent of US $2,000, the excess over US $10,000) = a total ISC of US $1,039.

In addition, the new decree changes the method for determining the ISC. DR Customs officials had been using price lists provided by the manufacturer to assess the ISC; however, this system created certain valuation problems. The new system uses published official list prices for automobiles, instead of price lists supplied by the manufacturer, to determine the value upon which the ISC is based.

The DR does not require import licenses and does not grant motor vehicle imports from any country preferential treatment. The new decree also modified the system for calculating duties and import taxes for used automobiles. Previously, used cars were assessed duties and taxes based on new car values. The new decree depreciates that value base for each model year of a car’s age up to seven years according to the following scale: vehicles one year older than the current model year, 5 percent depreciation; two years older, 10 percent depreciation; three years older, 15 percent depreciation; four years older, 20 percent depreciation; five years older, 30 percent depreciation; six years older, 40 percent depreciation; seven years older or more, 50 percent depreciation. Thus, for a used car two years older than the current model year, the DR will deduct 10 percent from that model’s new car price and use the resulting value as the base from which to calculate the tariff and ISC.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad is by far our largest market in the West Indies.

This is our understanding but first please double check on your end as we are exporting to over 100 countries and are not always current on each country’s import regulations. You need an import permit for a used car but not for a new car. Here are the steps to import a new vehicle:

First Step: Invoice value along with the Freight value subject to the 10% Import Duty.

Second Step : Above 10% import duty is subject to the VAT of 15%.

Third Step : Have to pay 2.5 T.T DOLLAR per C.C (engine capacity).

Here is some additional information for import of used vehicles but this may be dated. The following rules became effective on March 5, 2003 so I don’t know if they have been changed since then.

PRE-OWNED VEHICLE IMPORT GUIDELINES FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FOR PASSENGER VEHICLES: PRIVATE (P) OR HIRED (H)

The individual in whose name the vehicle is to be imported and registered, must first obtain an Import License from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Port of Spain, to facilitate importing the used vehicle of their choice. Download the application form from Ministry of Trade and Industry’s website. Alternatively, you can contact them at: Ministry of Trade and Industry, Licensing Unit Ground Floor, TTMA Building #42 Tenth Avenue, Barataria, Trinidad, West Indies

All vehicles must be less than five (4) years old from the date of manufacture, upon arrival into Trinidad & Tobago. For vehicles destined to be used as taxis, these units must be less than 3 years from the date of manufacture. Importing a used Maxi Taxi, though allowed, must also be less than five (4) years old from the date of manufacture, but requires a Special Approval from the Transport Commissioner. Please contact our office for further details.

The applicant must advise the Ministry of Trade and Industry of their B.I.R. (Board of Inland Revenue) File number.

The imported vehicle must be right hand drive.

The imported vehicle must not be fitted with a diesel engine.

The refrigerant used in the vehicle’s air-conditioning system must be made known prior to importation as it can be imported with only Ozone friendly refrigerants in the air conditioning system

No change of ownership of the imported vehicle can be effected within a three year period, from the date of registration. The imported vehicle cannot be disposed of without prior approval of the Minister of Enterprise, Development and Foreign Affairs.

Vehicles must be accompanied by a Certificate of Cancellation of Registration stamped by the Transport Authority in the country of origin which provides the exact age and mileage of the vehicle.

Cancellation Certificate must bear the Engine and Chassis numbers of the vehicle.

Vehicles must be structurally and mechanically sound and in an undamaged condition on importation.

FOR LIGHT & HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS

The Company or individuals who trade as a Sole Proprietor, in whose name the vehicle is to be imported and registered, must first obtain an Import License from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Port of Spain, to facilitate importing the used truck of their choice.

The applicant must advise the Ministry of Trade and Industry of their B.I.R. (Board of Inland Revenue) File number.

Copies and originals of the Company’s B.I.R. number as well as the Company’s registration certificate, must be submitted along with the import License application. A covering letter, introducing the company and the reasons for the need to import the required vehicle, must also be submitted.

Contract letters may be required.

All units must be less than seven (7) years old from the date of manufacture, upon arrival into Trinidad & Tobago.

Vehicles exceeding 15 tons (15,240 kgs) will require a Special Approval by the Ministry of Works & Transport – Transport Board Approval, before shipment to Trinidad & Tobago.

All vehicles should be right hand drive.

The air-conditioning system must be made known prior to importation.

South America

Argentina

Tariffs: The tariff applied to cars ranges from 12.5-37.5 percent (most at 35 percent). • The tariff applied to trucks ranges from 16.5-37.5 percent (most at 37.5 percent). • The tariff for auto parts (HTS 8707-08) ranges from 16.5-20.5 percent.

MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) plan to eventually adopt the same rules governing imports and will presumably adopt a common external tariff for automobiles and auto parts. The tariff rates are expected to be between 14-18 percent for auto parts, 30 percent for trucks, and 35 percent for automobiles. In the interim, vehicles imported from other MERCOSUR countries, which do not meet the regional content requirement of 60 percent (and Argentina’s 30 percent sub-regional content requirement), are subject to a 10 percent duty.

Taxes:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): cars (21 percent); trucks (10.5 percent)
  • An additional “advanced” VAT of 6-8 percent (based on CIF value plus the duty and the import statistics fee of 10 percent)
  • Various provincial sales taxes
  • Duty Surcharge (0.5 percent)
  • Statistical tax (3 percent)
  • A 3 percent advanced profit tax, charged on the custom value of goods

Other Measures:

  • Import ban on used vehicles Import license required
  • Import Restrictions: Foreign vehicles that do not have a domestic equivalent are subject to import quotas. This quota system limits imports to a percentage of total domestic production (for example, in 1994 this quota was 10 percent). The rights of the quotas are auctioned off, and the bidder willing to pay the most amounts above the average duty wins the quota. However, dealers can bid on a portion of the quota allotment by offering to pay an additional import duty over the regular 20 percent. Individuals may also participate, along with dealers, in special periodic quota allotments, under the same bidding system. Both individuals and dealers are limited to two imported vehicles per year. Assemblers who also import vehicles are also committed to maintain a higher level of exports than imports.
  • Import quotas and licensing are required for:

    Motor vehicles weighing less than 850kg, greater than 1,500kg and costing less than US$5,500 (HS 8702010101)

    Motor vehicles weighing between 850kg but less than 1,500kg with an ex-works price less than US$9,00 (HS 8702010120)

    Motor vehicles weighing more than 1,050kg with an ex-works price of less than US$16,000 (HS 8702010140)

    Motor vehicles weighing more than 1,050kg with an ex-works price of greater than US$16,000 (HS 8702010160)

    Chassis with gearbox in vertical position (HS 8702010161)

    Public transportation vehicles weighing less than 1,000kg and more than 1,000kg (HS 8702929001 and HS 8702929099, respectively)

    Heavy goods vehicles weighing more than 1,000kg but less than 2,000kg and those weighing more than 2,000kg (HS 8702030104 and HS 8702030105, respectively)

  • Bilateral Quota System: The Governments of Argentina and Brazil allow local automakers to import a certain number of cars and trucks from each other duty-free. The respective Governments adjust this quota each year.
  • Official distributors of foreign cars are limited to the importation of finished cars equal in value to the Argentine parts exported by the company.

Bolivia:

There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. Both new and used vehicles may be imported. There is a flat import duty of 10 percent on all goods, except for capital goods, which are assessed a customs duty of 5 percent (heavy trucks greater than or equal to 6 tons are considered capital goods), a 14.92 percent effective VAT, and a special 10 percent consumption tax on car sales. In addition to the import duty, imported goods including motor vehicles are subject to customs warehouse fees of 1.9 percent of the FOB price and customs broker’s fees of up to 2.0 percent of the CIF price. A motor vehicle is therefore subject to over 35 percent duties, taxes, and fees. Bolivia also requires pre-shipment valuation inspections.

Brazil:

Tariffs:

  • The tariff applied to cars ranges from 22.5-35 percent (most at 35 percent).
  • The tariff applied to trucks ranges from 14-35 percent (most at 35 percent).
  • The tariff for auto parts (HTS 8707-08) ranges from 14-20.5 percent.
  • Auto manufacturers with plants in Brazil that are under the Brazilian Automotive Program import at reduced tariff rates, 24.5 percent for passenger vehicles and 22.5 percent for commercial vehicles.
  • In December 1999, Brazil ended the import quota system, which allowed automobile manufacturers and some independent importers to import 50,000 automobiles per year at a reduced tariff (23% in 1999).
  •  Import Taxes for trading within the Mercosul region are not subject to import tariff.
  • Automobile and part manufacturers established in Brazil that benefited fromimport tariff reductions granted by the automotive program that expired in 1999, continue to enjoy a 40% reduction on the import tariff rate on imports of automotive parts.
  • Mercosul-made products enjoy exemption of import tariffs when, 60% of the product’s sales value are generated in the Mercosul region. The new automobile plants are required to reach 40% Mercosul content in the first year of production, 50% in the second year and 60% after the third year.

Taxes:

  • Import taxes: Import taxes are charged on the CIF value of the good. Vehicles: 35% Automotive parts: 14%; 16% and 18% (levels to be reached by 2006). The current import tariff on automobiles is 35%. Import tariffs on auto parts range from 17% to 23%.
  • IPI: • The IPI (Industrial Product Tax) is a federal tax applicable to imported and locally manufactured products and varies according to the product. The IPI for auto parts ranges from 4 to 16 percent and for automobiles ranges from 5 to 25 percent. For example:
Vehicle category/ engine displacement Current Tax rate
Automobiles up to 1000 cc 10
10 Automobiles up to 100 HP 25
Automobiles of up 127 HP 25
Automobiles of over 127 HP 25
Light commercials 4X4 (pick ups) 10
Diesel light commercials 4X2 10

 Source: ANFAVEA (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers)

  • The IPI is charged on the CIF price plus the import duty. It is not a cost item per se, because the paid value represents a credit to the importer. When the product is sold to the end-user, the importer debits the IPI, which is included in the final price of the product and is paid for by the end-user.
  • ICMS:

    The ICMS (Merchandise Circulation Tax) is a state tax, which varies according to the state, but ranges from 17-25 percent. The most common ICMS in the state of Sao Paulo is 18 percent and is charged on the CIF price plus the IPI. The ICMS is also assessed on locally made goods.

    Although importers must pay the ICMS to clear customs, it is not an actual cost item per se, because — similar to the IPI tax — the paid value represents a credit to the importer. When the merchandise is sold to the end-user, the importer debits the ICMS, which is included in the final prices and is paid by the end-user.

  • PIS/CONFINS: Contribution of 8.26 percent.
  • Port Taxes and Costs: Compulsory Contribution to Custom Broker’s Union2% of CIF, or minimum of US$140, maximum of US$280 Customs Broker Average US$700 Terminal Handling Charges Up to US$400 per container Merchant Marine Tax 25% of ocean freight Warehousing and Foremanship 0.65% of CIF Port and warehousing fees: vary according to the port or airport and on the period of time required to release imports from customs. These fees usually add up to 2 to 4% of the CIF price. Smaller ports outside Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are usually less expensive than the ones in those states.
  • Licensing: An import license is required for imports of most vehicles and some auto parts. Import licenses are issued by the Brazilian Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX) and take approximately two weeks to obtain. They are valid for 60 days.
  • Import Restrictions:•

    Imports of used automobiles into Brazil are not allowed under any circumstances, and special authorization is required for the import of used parts.

    Brazil also has a ban on diesel passenger car imports, but still exports diesel cars to Argentina. Argentina is also currently considering a similar ban on imports and production of diesel passenger cars. There is a possibility this ban will be extended to the entire MERCOSUR region; however, this has yet to be determined under the CAP negotiations.

Chile:

Tariffs: All new imported motor vehicles and automotive parts are assessed Chile’s uniform tariff rate of 6 percent, based on the CIF value, with the exception of vehicles coming from Canada and Mexico, and auto parts coming from Colombia and Venezuela due to bilateral agreements (see Various Trade Arrangements). Taxes:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) of 18 percent, charged on the sum of the CIF value and the amount of the duty. This tax is chargeable to the importer, not the foreign supplier. (Imports by Chilean Government offices and Armed forces are not subject to import duties or taxes.)
  • Luxury tax: based on CIF value and included in the calculation of VAT, the luxury tax is charged on 85 percent of the car’s value in excess of an amount which is adjusted annually according to U.S. wholesale price index. (The dollar amount as of January 2003 was $15,835.) This tax is assessed on all items in excess of this annually determined value. This tax is applied using the following formula: (CIF- 15,835) x 0.85. The luxury tax does not apply to buses, trucks, ambulances, off road vehicles, motor homes, or other special vehicles. The luxury tax is applied to those finished and semi-finished vehicles with a useful weight of under 2,000 Kg.
  • Other Measures: Import Restrictions: In Chile the importation of used vehicles is prohibited. Chile does allow imports of used ambulances, funeral hearse cars, fire-fighting vehicles, street cleaning vehicles, irrigation vehicles, towing vehicles, television projection equipment vehicles, armored commercial vehicles, workshop vehicles, cement making trucks, prison vans, radiological equipment vehicles, motor homes, off-road transportation vehicles, and other similar vehicles for special purposes, different from common transportation vehicles. These used vehicles pay an 8 percent import duty plus VAT. Fire-fighting vehicles are not subject to import duties, and pay the VAT on the CIF value only. A vehicle is considered new if: 1) It is of the current year; or 2) The model is of the last year but the importation occurred before April 30th and the vehicle has no more mileage than that required to transport the vehicle from the factory to the point of sale and according to customs it corresponds to a first transaction vehicle (i.e., the invoice is from the distributor or the factory). Special laws allow tax-exempt new/used car imports by persons returning from exile or returning after living abroad (for one complete year or more) for studies or work after a determined number of years. People domiciled in two domestic free trade zones, Iquique in the north and Punta Arenas in the south may also import used cars. Imports in these areas are exempt from customs duties and VAT. (See Various Trade Arrangements).
  • Automotive investment in Chile is governed by the “Automotive Statute”, which allows any car assembly company to operate in Chile. The Statute establishes a 13 percent minimum of local content in vehicles assembled from completely knocked-down (CKD) kits and 3 percent for vehicles assembled from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits. Local vehicle assemblers and part manufacturers benefit from Article 3 of Law 18,483, which exempts imported auto parts and components from customs duties if the importer exports parts and components of specific, certified quality worth the same amount ex-factory. If exported alone, the parts must include in country value-added of at least 50 percent. If they are built into vehicles that are assembled in Chile and then exported, then the value-added component must be at least 70 percent. (This law is being replaced by a new law called the Arica Law which gives incentives to establish in the Arica industrial free trade zone for any manufacturing plant) An import report to the Central Bank is required, free of cost, for shipments above US$3,000 CIF for statistical record keeping purposes. Since September 1994, Chilean law requires that all vehicles meet EPA standards of 1987. (Light vehicles must comply with EPA 1991 standards, and soon TIER 1 or Euro 3 will apply to those vehicles used within the Santiago Metropolitan Area.) Catalytic converters are required on all new cars
  • Customs Valuation problems
  • Various Trade Arrangements: U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement: concluded in December 2002 to be implemented during 2003. Several automotive provisions. Chile has bilateral trade agreements with Colombia and Venezuela which give auto parts zero tariff status. Chile also has a bilateral trade agreement with the European Union. Vehicles imported from Canada and Mexico fall under bilateral agreements and are not subject to import duties if they meet certain content requirements. Chile’s trade agreement with Mexico covers fully assembled vehicles (of at least 32 percent Mexican origin including parts and labor). In the case of Canada, vehicles must have at least 20 percent Canadian parts content. Chile is involved in trade relationships with several multinational groups. Chile’s membership in APEC may develop into very favorable trade terms. Chile has non-member associate status with MERCOSUR (made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) that will allow it market access with preferential tariffs. Chile is also involved in free trade negotiations with Korea and the European Union. Two domestic free trade zones exist: Iquique in the north and Punta Arenas (Regions I and XI) in the south. Imports in these two areas are exempt from customs duties and VAT. The regions immediately surrounding Iquique and Punta Arenas are considered an “extended” duty-free zone, which means that if goods are shipped outside the primary free zone but inside the extended area, they only pay 5.68 percent tariff. Vehicles shipped beyond these zones are responsible for full tariffs and taxes.

Colombia:

Tariffs:• In September 1993, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador agreed to adopt a common automotive policy, which became effective on January 1, 1994 (also known as the Complementary Convention in the Automotive Sector and/or Andean Automotive Policy). This policy established common external automotive tariffs of 35 percent for automobiles and CKD kits, 15 percent for trucks and buses (10 percent for Ecuador), and a concessional rate of 3 percent for CKD kits available to assemblers participating in the regional/local content scheme (see below).

Taxes: VAT is assessed on the C.I.F. value plus applicable duties –Four-wheel-drive vehicles (20 percent) –All other cars (35 percent); unless the C.I.F. value plus tariff is greater than or equal to US $35,000, in which case the VAT is 45 percent. –Ambulances and hearses (14 percent)

Other Measures:• There are no limitations on the types of models imported, and no special import permits are required. However, imported vehicles must be registered with the Colombian government prior to shipment. Local assemblers are free to assemble vehicles of any model and are also allowed to import vehicles. Since January 1, 1994, Colombia has required gas emission/evaporation control systems (to reduce gasoline tank and carburetor emissions) and a gas emission control system or positive ventilation valve (to control crankcase gas emissions) on all gasoline engine motor vehicles imported into or assembled in Colombia. Since January 1, 1995, Colombia has required catalytic converters to be installed on imported and locally produced vehicles.

Regional/Local Content:Under the 1994 agreement, a regional/local content scheme was established for a five-year period so that vehicles and parts could be traded amongst all three countries duty-free. For example, the 1995-97 minimum requirement was set at 30 percent for automotive parts and passenger vehicles with a capacity of up to 16 persons and merchandise transport vehicles of a total weight of 4.5 tons (Category 1), and at 15 percent for other types of vehicles (Category 2). To enjoy the privilege of importing CKD material with a 3 percent import duty, assemblers must incorporate local content as follows: Category 1: 30 percent in 1995, 31 percent in 1997, and 32 percent in 1997. Category 2: 15 percent in 1995, 16 percent in 1997, and 17 percent in 1997. By January 1998, these rates rose to 33 and 18 percent, respectively. This Andean Automotive Program was under review by the concerned Governments for the 5-year period (1999-2004), and, despite WTO implications, it appears that the regional content rules will gradually be adjusted upwards. Based on current information we understand that the regional content requirement in 2000 was 24.8 percent, and will increase to 34.7 percent by 2009.

Import Restrictions: The 1994 common policy prohibits imports from other countries of used cars, trucks, and buses, as well as new vehicles from previous years. It also bans trade in these vehicles among the member nations

Costa Rica

Tariffs: The tariff rate for most vehicles is 20 percent, based on the C.I.F. value. Buses that carry between 26 and 44 people and their chassis, trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 4000 kg or over, ambulances, hearses, and other special purpose vehicles pay a 20 percent tariff. Trucks with a gross vehicle weight of under 4000 kg and truck chassis with engines in this size category pay a 20 percent duty. Buses which carry 45 or more passengers and their chassis both pay a 5 percent duty. Passenger motor vehicles and passenger vehicle chassis with engines also are subject to a consumption tax of 47 percent, based on the sum of the C.I.F. value plus the tariff. All imports also pay a Customs surcharge of one percent based on the C.I.F. value. Costa Rica has a ten percent sales tax based on the sum of the C.I.F. value, tariff, consumption tax, and Customs surcharge. Thus, the tariff and taxes owed on an imported passenger car total 95.14 percent. In addition to the tariff, buses that carry between 26 and 44 people and their chassis, trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 4000 kg or over, ambulances, hearses, and other special purpose vehicles pay a Customs and sales taxes, but no consumption tax. Trucks with a gross vehicle weight of under 4000 kg and truck chassis with engines in this size category pay a 15 percent consumption tax, and the other two taxes. Buses that carry 45 or more passengers and their chassis both pay a 5 percent duty and the Customs and sales taxes, but no consumption tax.

Other Measures: Costa Rica does not require import licenses. Previously, Costa Rica did not grant motor vehicle imports from any country preferential treatment. However, beginning on January 1, 2000, motor vehicle imports from Mexico began entering Costa Rica duty free as stipulated in the Mexico-Costa Rica free trade agreement.

Used Vehicles: To calculate tariffs and taxes on used vehicles, Costa Rica uses values reported by the U.S. N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide. Costa Rica grants a discount on the sum of the tariff and consumption tax owed according to the following scale: –

  • Vehicles one year older than the current model year receive a 20 percent discount
  • Two years old, 30 percent,
  • Three years old, 40 percent;
  • Four years old, 50 percent;
  • Five years old or older, 70 percent.

Thus, for a used car two years older than the current model year, Costa Rica will 1) determine its value from the U.S. N.A.D.A.; 2) sum the 20 percent tariff and 47 percent consumption tax; 3) deduct 30 percent from this sum; 4) add this amount to the determined price of the vehicle; and 5) add the Customs surcharge and 10 percent VAT.

Additionally, Costa Rica liberalized access to foreign currency in February 1992, so that importers are no longer required to pre-register import transactions with the Costa Rican Central Bank nor make previous deposits of currency.

Dominican Republic

Tariffs: The Dominican Republic assesses all imported new and used passenger vehicles (except pick-up trucks) with a flat tariff of 30 percent. Pick-up trucks and other trucks with cargo capacity of five tons or less, buses, bus chassis, and passenger vehicle chassis with engines are assessed the 30 percent tariff but are not subject to the Selective Consumption Tax (ISC). Trucks with cargo capacity of over five tons and their chassis, truck tractors, ambulances, hearses, prison vans, fire-fighting vehicles, and concrete mixers have a ten percent duty and are not subject to the ISC. All other special purpose vehicles have a 15 percent tariff and pay no ISC.

Taxes: The Dominican Republic assesses all imported new and used passenger vehicles (except pick-up trucks) with a variable ISC, and an eight percent sales tax. The tariff amount is not included in the calculation of the ISC; however, the sales tax is assessed on the sum of the vehicle’s value plus the tariff plus the ISC. The DR modified the ISC by Presidential Decree #66-94 on March 25, 1994; it is now based on value rather than engine size. The table below explains the rates:

Dominican Republic ISC Tax Table

Price U.S. $ Basic-R.D. $ (%)* Marginal Excess (%)
0 – 7,000 0 0 0
7,001 – 10,000 0 0 15
10,001 – 14,000 5,625 (4) 30
14,001 – 20,000 20,625 (12 45
20,001 – 26,000 54,375 (21) 60
26,001 – 32,000 99,375 (30) 80
32,001 and above (45)

*The percentages in parentheses indicate what the basic tax rate is for vehicles priced at the beginning of each range (using an exchange rate of 12.8 RD$/US$).

The second percentage applies to the excess over the beginning value of the range.

As an example, a car priced at US $12,000 would be subject to the basic amount of RD $5,625 or US $439, plus the marginal amount of US $600 (30 percent of US $2,000, the excess over US $10,000) = a total ISC of US $1,039.

In addition, the new decree changes the method for determining the ISC. DR Customs officials had been using price lists provided by the manufacturer to assess the ISC; however, this system created certain valuation problems. The new system uses published official list prices for automobiles, instead of price lists supplied by the manufacturer, to determine the value upon which the ISC is based. The DR does not require import licenses and does not grant motor vehicle imports from any country preferential treatment. The new decree also modified the system for calculating duties and import taxes for used automobiles. Previously, used cars were assessed duties and taxes based on new car values. The new decree depreciates that value base for each model year of a car’s age up to seven years according to the following scale: vehicles one year older than the current model year, 5 percent depreciation; two years older, 10 percent depreciation; three years older, 15 percent depreciation; four years older, 20 percent depreciation; five years older, 30 percent depreciation; six years older, 40 percent depreciation; seven years older or more, 50 percent depreciation. Thus, for a used car two years older than the current model year, the DR will deduct 10 percent from that model’s new car price and use the resulting value as the base from which to calculate the tariff and ISC.

Ecuador

Tariffs:• In September 1993, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador agreed to adopt a common automotive policy that became effective January 1, 1994 (also known as the Complementary Agreement in the Automotive Sector and/or Automotive Andean Policy). This policy was revised in January 2000 and established common external automotive tariffs of 35 percent for automobiles and CKD kits, 15 percent for trucks and buses (10 percent for Ecuador), and a concessional rate of 3 percent for CKD kits available to assemblers participating in the regional/local content scheme (see below). Automotive parts are subject to customs duties that range from 2 to 20 percent (10-15 percent for HTS numbers 8707-08).

Taxes:• VAT: 12 percent for vehicles and automotive parts Special tax: 5.15 percent + 25 percent uplift Custom’s fee: 1 percent

Non-Tariff Measures: Regional/Local Content: Under the 2000 agreement, a regional/local content scheme was established for a five-year period so that vehicles and parts could be traded amongst all three countries duty-free (if complying with the origin requirements). For example, the 1995-97 minimum requirement was set at 35 percent for automotive parts and passenger vehicles with a capacity of up to 16 persons and merchandise transport vehicles of a total weight of 4,537 tons or 10,000 pounds and chassis (Category 1), and at 15 percent for other types of vehicles (Category 2).

Import Restrictions:• The Andean common policy prohibits imports from other countries of used cars, trucks, and buses, as well as new vehicles from previous years. It also bans trade in these vehicles among the member nations. Import of CKD’s is subject to a quota assignment by the National Automotive Commission and regulated by the automotive development law. Importation is limited to those brands having a distributor and/or an authorized concessionary in the country to guarantee an adequate supply of spare parts.

Other Measures:• Importers require an import license, which is issued by the central bank for six months. Local assemblers are free to assemble vehicles of any model and are also allowed to import vehicles. Vehicles must meet standards established by the Ecuadorian National Standards Institute (INEN) New vehicles must meet emission regulations There are no requirements for standards for parts imports, or requirements for labeling of products. The chaotic customs systems, creates disincentives to import goods through formal channels, and incentives for contraband. Many auto parts, for example, enter disguised as other goods that carry lower (or zero) customs duty.

El Salvador

El Salvador has no restrictions on the importation of new or used motor vehicles. The current Transit Law (enacted 1995), will require, when fully enforced the use of catalytic converters. This enforcement, however, will be possible only after the creation of facilities nation wide to install converters and measure gas emissions.

The tariff on all four-wheel-drive vehicles is 25 percent. The tariff on all other passenger vehicles varies by engine displacement: Engines up to 1300 cc’s = 20 percent duty From 1301 up to 2000 cc’s = 25 percent Over 2000 cc’s = 30 percent Buses, trucks, ambulances, hearses, and all other special purpose vehicles are assessed from 1 to 5 percent tariff, except for golf carts and snowmobiles that are assessed 30 percent.

All sales are subject to a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 13 percent. El Salvador does not require import licenses and does not grant motor vehicle imports from any country preferential treatment.

Guatemala

Guatemala has no restrictions on the importation of new or used motor vehicles. Tariffs are 20 percent on new passenger cars and 15 percent on four-wheel-drive vehicles and other light trucks, except for pick-up trucks, which have a tariff of 10 percent. Heavy trucks and buses have a 5 percent duty, chassis with engines have a 10 percent duty, and all special purpose vehicles pay a 20 percent tariff. All sales are subject to a seven percent VAT. Guatemala does not grant motor vehicle imports from any country preferential treatment. Guatemala requires legalization of commercial invoices and bills of lading before products may enter the country. The legalization process requires exporters to provide the Guatemalan embassy or consulate with each invoice and bill of lading prior to shipment. The embassy or consulate stamps the documents and returns them to the exporter who must present the stamped documents to Guatemalan Customs upon entry of the merchandise.

Honduras

There is neither local production nor assembly of automobiles or trucks in Honduras. Licenses are not required to import a vehicle and there are no quotas. Duties on passenger vehicles are 30 to 40 percent depending on the engine size with vehicles having engines larger than 2000 ccs being charged the higher rate. Other commercial vehicles are assessed a 10 percent duty. Duties on automotive parts and accessories range between 10 and 20 percent of the C.I.F. price. In addition, there are taxes on all imported goods, including an 8 percent VAT and a 15 percent surcharge on the duty. Foreign exchange availability is limited.

Jamaica

Effective February 1, 1993, Jamaica sharply reduced duty rates on most imported vehicles. Duties currently range from 87.5 percent for cars with engines under 1,000 cc, to 260 percent for cars with engines over three liters and costing in excess of USD 15,000 F.O.B. The 260 percent duty will remain in effect for luxury cars, but will range from50-100 percent for cars under three liters.

Importers may import and license vehicles up to three (3) years old for cars, sport utility vehicles (SUV) and four (4) years old for vans/light commercial vehicles not exceeding two (2) tons at the time of importation. If the vehicle exceeds 2 tons or more; then importers are allowed to import a vehicle up to ten (10) years old. Here are the rules:

a. Passenger vehicles should not be older than three (3) years old, e.g.. Cars, SUV (off road style), Cab Over Van/Wagon, etc.

b. Vans/Light Commercial vehicles should not be older than four (4) years old, e.g. Cab Over Van, Cargo Van, Cab Over Truck not exceeding two tons.

c. Commercial vehicles should not be older than ten (10) years old,  e.g. Cab Over Truck & Big Cab Over Truck exceeding two tons or more.

There is no distinction made between local Jamaican Residents and Returning Residents in the importation of motor vehicles.

Currently any Jamaican over 18 years old can import two motor vehicles (one light commercial vehicle and one motor car) in any three year period.

These can be new or used vehicles, but used vehicles should not be more than three (3) years old in the case of motor cars or four (4) years old in the case of light commercial vehicles, at the time of importation.

A vehicle is considered used if the odometer is registering over three thousand (3,000) miles (4,827 KM), or if it has been pre-owned by a third party, or is over six (6) months old;

A vehicle is considered new if it has been purchased within the period of six (6) months of its manufacture prior to its landing in Jamaica.

Other considerations are as follows:

  • All prospective importers of Classic/Antique/Limited Edition Motor Vehicles MUST obtain an import permit prior to arrival of the Vehicle. Each application must be supported by the Jamaica Classic Car Club, along with documentary proof that the unit falls into definition and categories as specified by the Motor Vehicle Import Policy.
  • All prospective importers of vehicles for agricultural use who seek duty concessions, MUST FIRSTobtain approval of Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA) Parish offices in the locale of the farming activity prior to importation. The Trade Board requires evidence of any concession granted at the time the relevant Motor Vehicle Import Licence application is submitted for approval.
  • A Certificate of Fitness will only be required for motor vehicles to be imported from a country where it is a statutory requirement that vehicles be examined and certified prior to shipment.
  • An import licence is NOT required for the importation of oversized vehicles (heavy-duty Trucks, Tractors and Trailers – three (3) tons and over unladen weight). However, importers MUST FIRST obtain written permission from the Island Traffic Authority, BEFORE importing such units.
  • All persons seeking to import vehicles with six (6) seats and over, with the exception of Jeep, Pajeros, Pathfinders and similiar type vehicles, MUST FIRSTobtain the approval of  the Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Technology.
  • All vehicles originating in countries where they drive on the right MUST:
    • – where applicable modify their units for passengers to enter/exit on the curbside of the road;
    • – modify the beam of the headlamps to reflect down on the left horizontal plane or up and down on the vertical plane.
  • Vehicular air-conditioning equipment containing chloroflourocarbons (cfcs) are prohibited from importation into Jamaica.
  • Import Licences issued by the Trade Board Limited are valid for the duration of the Financial Year in which they are granted i.e. the period April 1st to March 31st of any given year or remaining portion thereof.
  • All Import Licences (except for approved Motor Vehicle Dealers) will be claused against sale or transfer of the unit (vehicle) for a period of one (1) year after its arrival..

Please note that revisions to the law have also greatly facilitated the acquisition of new or used vehicles through an approved motor dealer or a certified used car dealer in Jamaica, either from stock or by special order. Most makes/models of vehicles are now available in Jamaica thereby providing an OPTION for consideration when decisions are being taken about personal importation of vehicles and the attendant shipping and clearance arrangements.

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The Motor Vehicle Importation Policy is primarily administered by the Trade Board Limited, which is the Government Agency responsible for granting the Order and Clearance Permit or Import Licence you will require to bring a motor vehicle into Jamaica. Contact may be with this authority on any question regarding the importation of vehicles at the addresses provided in the Information Pack Directory.

An importer must apply to the Trade Board for an Import Licence, and obtain approval BEFORE shipping the vehicle. You must also secure the services of a licensed Customs Broker to clear the vehicle on arrival – an individual is not permitted to do this.

The procedures to be carried out in making an application for a Motor Vehicle Import Licence are as follows:

The importer must first obtain an Import Licence Application Form from the Trade Board. Sets of forms (in triplicate) are available for a fee of J$35. A sample of this form (The Order and Clearence Permit) is included in the Information Pack.

The application should be completed in triplicate and returned to the Trade Board for processing accompanied by the following items:

  • If the vehicle is new, you should get a pro-forma invoice from the dealer, detailing model, accessories, and c.i.f. value;
  • If you already own the vehicle you should provide a certificate of title or registration document;
  • You should provide certified copies of two (2) valid forms of identification which may be any of the following:
    • – Passport (Jamaican – Pages 1-5; non-Jamaican – pages up to expiry date)
    • – Driver’s Licence (both sides)
    • – National Voter’s Identification Card
  • A* Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) is also required (photocopy of both sides of the card should be attached)

(* For information on how to obtain a TRN contact the Taxpayer Registration Centre, contact the nearest overseas Diplomatic / Consular Mission or the Jamaicans Overseas Department)

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Import Licence Collection    

Once an application is received at the Trade Board, it is generally processed within twenty-four (24) hours and is available for collection at the Trade Board locations to which it was directed for processing in Kingston or in Montego Bay. If you are unable to collect the Permit in person, please note that:

the Trade Board will facilitate delivery to a Licensed Customs Broker acting on the importer’s behalf, upon presentation of proper identification; or, to an individual with a letter of authorization from the importer and proper identification.

Once this document has been collected, the importer can complete his shipping and clearance activities within a reasonable period. Vehicles may be shipped to any port of entry.

Anyone who imports any motor vehicle without first obtaining a valid Order and Clearance Permit will be liable to a fine equivalent to three times the value of the motor vehicle, plus seizure of the vehicle.

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Documentation and Procedure for Clearance

Your Licensed Customs Broker will be responsible for the clearance of the vehicle from the port of entry. He or she will advise you of the procedure to be followed, the information required, and the costs involved for the services to be provided.

For a new motor vehicle, you can estimate the amount of Customs Duty you will have to pay on your vehicle by applying the relevant Aggregate Customs Duty rate to the value on the supplier’s pro-forma invoice.

In the case of used vehicles the depreciated value applicable to the age and mileage of the vehicle can be referenced from Glass’s Guide – for vehicles being shipped from the U.K. and Europe, and the N.A.D.A. Book – for vehicles being shipped from North America, i.e., the United States and Canada. (For further information on the duty assesment process contact the Jamaica Customs (Motor Vehicle Unit) at the address listed in this Information Pack or contact the Jamaican Overseas Department).

After the vehicle is landed, the necessary documentation should be obtained and given to a Licensed Customs Broker who will interact with the Customs Department on behalf of the importer.

When the documents have been processed by the Customs Department and found to be correct, the licensed customs broker will make payment of all duties, taxes, etc. on your behalf. The broker may then proceed to the clearance point (e.g. wharf, airport, etc.) and effect clearance of the vehicle.

Apart from the Import Licence issued by the Trade Board, which authorizes the importation of the motor vehicle, the following is also required:

Title / Registration Certificate:  Ownership documents which helps to classify the motor vehicle for valuation purposes and is provided by the owner.  

Invoice:  For a new motor vehicle (under 3000 miles) an invoice is needed from the supplier.  

Bill of Lading:   Provides information about the particulars of the vehicle, the date it landed in the island, and at which port of entry. This is obtained from the Shipping Agent.  

Bill of Sight:   This is a document on which details of the motor vehicle being imported are recorded. This is obtained from a Licensed Customs Broker.  

Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN):   A unique nine digit identification number required for the transaction of business with all government Revenue Departments (including Customs, Trade Board). This is obtained from the Revenue Board.  

Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC):   A document issued as proof that payments of tax liabilities and wage-related statutory deductions are up-to-date. This is obtained from the Revenue Board.  

C78/Import Entry:   This is the primary import document on which all particulars of the motor vehicle, the importer, shipping information, etc. are recorded. This is prepared and submitted to Customs by a Licensed Customs Broker.  

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Putting the vehicle on the Road:

Before driving on the public road, prior to removing the motor vehicle from the wharf, you should obtain motor insurance coverage through an insurance agency or broker.

On clearing the vehicle, and having paid the relevant fee at the nearest Taxpayers Service Centre or Collector of Taxes of the Inland Revenue Department, a Certificate of Fitness should be obtained from a Motor Vehicle Examination Depot to indicate that it complies with Jamaican standards, for example, please note that in the case of vehicles imported from North America and other territories where one drives on the right side of the road, it is necessary to adjust or change the vehicle’s headlights prior to presenting it for examination.

Finally, the insurance cover note or certificate, the Certificate of Fitness, and the Import Entry Documentation should be taken to the Taxpayers Service Centre so that the vehicle can be registered, registration plates purchased, and an application made for a Title of Ownership of the vehicle. Each of these items attracts a fee.

Drivers should note that if you do not already have a valid Jamaican driver’s licence, you can drive in Jamaica on a valid overseas licence for one (1) year only before it is necessary to secure a Jamaican licence.

AGGREGATE DUTY STRUCTURE

DESCRIPTION AGGREGATE RATE OF DUTY
Cars/Station Wagons/*Estate Cars   GCT Only
Not exceeding 1000 cc 67%  
Exceeding 1000cc up to 1500cc 83%  
Exceeding 1500cc up to 2000cc (diesel 2200cc) 94%  
Exceeding 2000cc up to 3000cc (diesel 3200cc) 121%  
Exceeding 3000cc (diesel 3200cc) 180%  
JEEPS, RANGE ROVERS & SIMILAR TYPE VEHICLES    
Not exceeding 2000cc (diesel 2200cc) 94%  
Exceeding 2000cc up to 3000cc (diesel 3200cc) 121%  
Exceeding 3000cc (diesel 3200cc) 180%  
Motor Cycles (not exceeding 600cc) 38%  
COMMERCIAL VEHICLES    
Limousines 121%  
Tractor Heads and Trailer nil 23.809%
Rate for approved agriculture activities nil 14.29%
Motor Chassis with Engine nil 23.809%
Panel Vans and Pick-ups    
Not exceeding 2032 kg 55%  
Exceeding 2032 kg 35%  
Rate for approved agriculture activities 20%  
Special Purpose Vehicles nil 33.33%
Hearses    
Not exceeding 2032 kg 85%  
Exceeding 2032 kg 35%  
*Buses 105%  
Buses Acquired for Used in Public Passenger Transportation    
Not exceeding 6 seats 55%  
7 to 9 seats (2000-3000cc) 94%  
15-24 seats 35%  
Buses Acquired for Tourism Activities    
9-14 seats 55%  
15-24 seats 35%  
25 and over seats 10%  
*NB: All persons or organisations seeking to import buses into Jamaica must first obtain the approval of the Ministry of Industry & Tourism (Land Transport Unit)

Nicaragua

There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. The tariff imposed on buses is 22 percent. Buses are exempt from the Nicaraguan Selective Consumption Taxes (SCT). Taxes on cars vary by value. All-purpose vehicles (Rusticos) carry a 20 percent tariff, and a 10 percent SCT. All other cars up to $27,301 must pay a 30 percent SCT, and the tariffs range from 20 percent up to 100 percent based on value. Cars with a value greater than US$ 27,301 must pay a 100 percent tariff and a 100 percent SCT. Cargo trucks are divided into two categories for taxation purposes. Trucks with a carrying capacity of up to 2 tons of cargo must pay a 15 percent tariff, and a 10 percent SCT. Trucks with a carrying capacity over 2 tons pay only 1 percent tariff and a 5 percent SCT. All cars and trucks must pay the standard 15 percent value added sales tax (VAT) and the 3 percent stamp tax.

Panama

Tariffs: Panama assesses new passenger car duties based on the vehicle’s CIF value. From USD 0 to 5,000 is assessed a 15 percent tax. From USD 5,001-12,000 is assessed 15 percent tax. From USD 12,001-14,500 is assessed 18 percent tax. Over USD 14,500 is assessed a 20 percent tax. Pick-up trucks, all other trucks for the transport of merchandise, small buses, and chassis with engines pay a flat tariff of 10 percent. 4×4 trucks range from 15-18 percent. Four-wheel-drive vehicles duties are also based on CIF value, from USD 0 to USD 12,000, a 15 percent tariff is assessed; from USD 12,001 not exceeding USD 18,000 is assessed at 15 percent. Startinf from USD 18,000 and all others assessed 18 percent tax. Ambulances, hearses, prison vans, and all other special purpose vehicles pay a flat 10 percent duty. Truck tariffs range from 5-10 percent depending on the weight. Dump Trucks 10 percent, all other diesel trucks weighting less than 5 tons 8 percent, from 5 tons to 20 tons 5 percent, more than 20 tons 10 percent. Decree 56, issued by Panama’s Cabinet Council, allows partial duty exemptions of automobiles, buses, and repair parts for taxi and bus operators. Taxi operators (“selectivos”) are exempt from 95 percent of duties on new cars valued at USD 7,000 or less and 75 percent on used cars under five years old. They are allowed to import up to 12 new tires at 95 percent off of regular import duties. Bus operators can import up to 18 tires. Bus operators (“collectives”) receive import exemptions ranging from 80 percent on six- to ten-year-old buses to 95 percent on new buses. Parts tariffs range from 0-15 percent (HTS numbers 8707-08). Parts such as air brakes, diesel motors, differentials, and transmissions receive import exemptions of 95 percent, but are subject to quantity limitations. All vehicles can be sold tax-free after five years.

Other taxes: Panama assesses a Value Added Tax of 5 percent. Panama assesses a Customs Administration fee of $70 for shipments over $2,000 in value. Law 61 of December 26, 2002, created the Selective Consumption Tax. Beginning April 1, 2003, 5 percent tax is added to the sale price of new cars if the CIF value is above USD$15,000 for passenger cars and USD 18,000 for 4X4.

Other Measures: Panama requires legalization of documents for products shipped by surface transportation. See the Guatemala section for an explanation of this procedure. Some auto parts import volume is limited.

Paraguay

Tariffs currently range from 12.5 to 22.5 percent depending on engine displacement. Although Argentina and Brazil will adopt a common external tariff of 35 percent, Paraguay and Uruguay will adopt a common external tariff of up to 22.5 percent by the year 2005. In the interim, vehicles imported from other Mercosur countries, which do not meet the regional content requirement of 60 percent, are subject to the external tariff by displacement. For trade among the MERCOSUR countries, all products that have at least 60 percent regional content are traded among these countries with a 0 percent import tax, although trade is not free. Only Paraguay allows imports of MERCOSUR made vehicles with 0 percent import tariff without restriction A transfer tax is applicable on all auto sales, and a separate registration fee is also charged in addition to any applicable municipal vehicle tax.

Peru

You can import any vehicle that is less than 4 years old, chassis number must be same with manufacture of year

Tariffs: 12 percent: cars, trucks and automotive parts

Taxes: 18 percent Vat Added Tax (VAT)

Imported new vehicles with 24 seats or less are subject to a Selective Consumption Tax (SCT) of 30 percent based on the sum of the C.I.F. value and the tariff amount. Imported used vehicles with 24 seats or less are subject to an SCT of 45 percent. Imported vehicles with 25 or more seats, whether new or used, are not subject to any SCT. Automotive parts are not subject to the consumption tax.

Other Restrictions: Bans on used vehicles based on age: Peru does not allow the entry of used personal use vehicles that are more than 5 years old and does not allow the entry of used commercial vehicles that are more than 8 years old. New or used vehicles with right-hand steering gear entering through the southern ports of Ilo and Matarani, which are reconditioned locally, are exempt from the SCT. (Reconditioning refers to converting the steering gear to the left side.) Peru also requires pre-shipment valuation inspections.

Puerto Rico

There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. Puerto Rico has a tax based on the suggested retail price of motor vehicles. Cars valued under $5,770 will pay $750; Cars valued over $5,769 up to $10,000 will pay $750 plus 13 percent of excess over $5,769; Cars valued over $10,000 up to $20,000 must pay $1,300 plus 25 percent of excess over $10,000; Cars valued over $20,000 up to $42,000 must pay $3,800 plus 40 percent of excess over $20,000; Cars valued over $42,000 must pay 30 percent of the taxable price. Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPV) valued below 20,001 must pay 13 percent of the taxable price; while MPV’s valued over 20,001 must pay 20 percent of the taxable price.

Uruguay

Tariffs:

  • The tariff applied to cars is 22.5 percent.
  • The tariff applied to trucks ranges from 6.5-22.5 percent (most at 6.5 percent).
  • The tariff for auto parts (HTS 8707-08) ranges from 8-20.5 percent.
  • MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) plan to eventually adopt the same rules governing imports and will presumably adopt a common external tariff for automobiles and auto parts. The tariff rates are expected to be between 14-18 percent for auto parts, 30 percent for trucks, and 35 percent for automobiles. In the interim, vehicles imported from other MERCOSUR countries, which do not meet the regional content requirement of 60 percent (and Argentina’s 30 percent sub-regional content requirement), are subject to a 10 percent duty.

Taxes:  

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): 23 percent
  • Special Tax: ranges from 9.6-60 percent

Other Measures:

  • Import ban on used vehicles
  • Local Content/Regional Content Requirements: Regional Content Requirements: For trade among the MERCOSUR countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) all products that have at least 60 percent regional content (30 percent of which must be from Argentina) are traded duty free among these countries.

Venezuela

Tariffs:In September 1993, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador agreed to adopt a common automotive policy, which became effective on January 1, 1994 (also known as the Complementary Convention in the Automotive Sector and/or Andean Automotive Policy. This policy established common external automotive tariffs of 35 percent for automobiles (range from 20 to 35 percent, but most are at 35), 15 percent for trucks and buses (range from 5-35 percent, but most are at 15; 10 percent for Ecuador), and a concessional rate of 3 percent for CKD kits available to assemblers participating in the regional/local content scheme (see below). Automotive parts are subject to customs duties, which range from 5-15 percent (HTS numbers 8707-8708).

Taxes:

  • VAT 16 percent, based on price of vehicle: CIF value, plus duty paid, plus customs fee Transfer/local customs and service tax (5 percent), based on CIF value Customs handling fee (2 percent), based on CIF value
  • Other Measures:
  • There are no limitations on the types of models imported, and no special import permits are required. Local assemblers are free to assemble vehicles of any model and are also allowed to import vehicles. However all local assemblers are subject to a “Foreign Exchange Program”, which amounts to 50 percent of foreign exchange outflow in the case of passenger cars. Significant progress has been achieved in removing a non-tariff barrier involving certification requirement. This was based on obligatory quality and manufacturing standard certificates required for certain imports where the Venezuelan standards office COVENIN had established standards for Venezuelan products. Since customs demanded to see an “official” certificate to the effect that the imports complied with similar standards in their countries of origin, importers had the problem in cases where either such standards did not exist or no official standards institute was established which could certify adherence to standards. However, importers have by now been able to overcome this and COVENIN appears to accept a statement by the foreign manufacturer to the effect that established standards have been applied. In cases, where the importers have not been able to provide any type of certification, COVENIN is now requesting a quality test by a local testing laboratory, a costly and time-consuming procedure, which the importers are protesting. COVENIN obligatory standards exist for the following products: batteries, safety belts and safety belt anchors, McPherson struts, brake cylinders, helicoidal springs, steel wheels, brake servos, radiator caps, safety glass, spark plugs, tires. retreading material, V-belts, rubber belts, mufflers, steering terminals, wheel lugs, water hoses, brake disks and drums and suspension parts. This list is subject to changes as COVENIN might add other items. There are no labeling, marking or packaging requirements. Since there is some resistance by end users against non-identifiable manufacturers or countries of origin, it is advisable to print on the package or label the name of the manufacturer and his address or at least the country of manufacture. In the case of generic parts, it is helpful to list the automobile brands, model and model years for which the component is applicable.
  • Luxury Tax: 10 percent over $30,000.
  • Regional/Local Content: Under the 1994 agreement, a regional/local content scheme was established for a five-year period so that vehicles and parts could be traded amongst all three countries duty-free. For example, the 1995-97 minimum requirement was set at 30 percent for automotive parts and passenger vehicles with a capacity of up to 16 persons and merchandise transport vehicles of a total weight of 4.5 tons (Category 1), and at 15 percent for other types of vehicles (Category 2). To enjoy the privilege of importing CKD material with a 3 percent import duty, assemblers must incorporate local content as follows: Category 1: 30 percent in 1995, 31 percent in 1997, and 32 percent in 1997. Category 2: 15 percent in 1995, 16 percent in 1997, and 17 percent in 1997. By January 1998, these rates rose to 33 and 18 percent, respectively. This Andean Automotive Program was under review by the concerned Governments for the 5-year period (1999-2004), and, despite WTO implications, it appears that the regional content rules will gradually be adjusted upwards. Based on current information we understand that the regional content requirement in 2000 was 24.8 percent, and will increase to 34.7 percent by 2009.
  • Import Restrictions: The 1994 common policy prohibits imports from other countries of used cars, trucks, and buses, as well as new vehicles from previous years. It also bans trade in these vehicles among the member nations.

U.S. Virgin Islands

There is a 6 percent tax assessed on all imported products, including new and used motor vehicles and automotive parts. However, products imported from the United States, but of foreign origin, are eligible for a tariff reduction equal to the amount of the duty paid upon that product’s entry into the United States. For example, a passenger car on which a 2.5 percent tariff was paid would be subject to a 3.5 percent duty upon entry into the U.S.V.I. A truck on which a 25 percent tariff was paid would enter the U.S.V.I. duty free. Vehicles imported into the United States as new, but now considered used, are also eligible for the tariff reduction.

Jim Motor’s other services to the Americas

(1) We can freight genuine and quality third party parts and accessories to any part of the Americas

(2) SKD’s: Semi Knocked Down’s. We can SKD new vehicles, including Buses, Land Cruisers and pickup trucks to your country’s SKD specifications

Note: This page is still under construction, if you have relevant information, please don’t hesitate to drop in a line at jim12cars@gmail.com

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