BACKGROUND: In September 2008, an emergency plan was enacted in response to the hurricane that destroyed some parts of Haiti thus culminating in the Government of Haiti (GoH) suspending certain customs regulations for a three month duration. The purpose for the moratorium was to facilitate the entry of relief supplies to support the thousands of victims that were displaced by this catastrophic storm and hurricane. The same emergency plan was adopted following the January 12, 2010 earthquake that wreaked havoc in Port-au-Prince and neighboring cities. In spite of unprecedented supplies and support pouring in from nations around the world, the Haitian Government has made the decision to restore custom policies to prevent rampant abuses.
PURPOSE: To outline policies and procedures to come into compliance with the Haitian Government’s custom laws.
- PROCEDURES FOR IMPORTATION OF VEHICLES INTO HAITI: Legally registered and recognized NGOs/IOs, who have been accorded duty-free privileges, must adhere to the following procedures shown below for importation and processing of vehicles through customs:
- The respective NGO/IO must submit a letter to the Ministry of Plan (MPCE) to inform them about the vehicle shipment. Upon receipt of the letter, MPCE will forward the request to the Unit of Coordination of NGOs (UCAONG) for their action. Before doing this, MPCE will verify the status of the NGO/IO and forward the dossier to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
- The MEF will send a memorandum to the General Administration of Customs (AGD) once the custom request has been approved for duty-free entry. AGD will in turn write a memorandum to the concerned port (airport/port/Malpasse border/or any other port) authorizing the NGO/IO to process the Custom’s clearance.
- Once the NGO/IO has received written notification of the approval, the assigned broker will then be authorized to prepare the Customs Declaration form for the vehicle and submit the document to Customs for their review. The NGO/IO must be cognizant of the fact that a five percent (FV) tax will be levied based on the cost, insurance, freight (C.I.F) value along with a 2% contribution au Fonds de Gestion et de Development des Collectivities Territoriales (CFGDTC) tax) on the 5% of the CIF value.
- The NGO/IO must provide the original Bill of Lading, the invoice or bill of sale and a copy of the title or certificate of origin for all vehicle duty-free request shipments. Please note that only left wheel drive vehicles may be imported into Haiti.
- PROCEDURES FOR HUMANITARIAN AIDS AND PERISHABLE ITEMS: In order to obtain a shipment by anticipation involving humanitarian aids and perishable items, NGOs/IOs must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Prepare the Customs Declaration Form and forward it to the MEF for approval. The request must be accompanied by a copy of the letter requesting duty-free entry that was previously submitted to the MPCE.
- Once the MEF has granted their approval, the customs declaration must also be sent to AGD for approval. When the AGD has granted their permission, the packet must be taken to the appropriate port for Customs Clearance (Airport/Port/etc.).
- The NGO/IO must furnish the Haitian Customs Declaration form, the original Bill of Lading or airway bill that was previously consigned to the NGO/IO devoid of any personal name on the consignee part, a detailed packing list containing the value of all items (and weight if possible) and a Certificate of Donation on all requests for duty-free humanitarian relief cargo.
- NGOs/IOs are subject to local Demurrage/Storage charges imposed by the Steamship lines and Terminal after 15 or 17 days arrival of the cargo. The NGOs/IOs may also have to pay port charges, terminal handling fees, and delivery of container charges. These costs will vary from terminal or steamship lines.
- Custom officials recommend that NGOs/IOs only use the services of only certified brokers who are familiar with Haitian custom requirements in order to ensure an easier and faster process.
III. PROCEDURES FOR USAID PARTNERS: USAID representative officials should adhere to the following process when dealing with Haitian Customs:
- Furnish a letter of request from the respective project along with the appropriate shipping documentation to the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) or Agreement Officer’s Technical Representative (AOTR) for approval. This can be done by sending an email with a PDF attachment.
- Haitian custom officials must receive the original Bill of Lading or Airway bill, the invoice (for purchased items), the packing list containing the value for each items for donated goods, and the certificate of donation (for donated reliefs). On matters involving shipment of imported vehicles, Haitian Custom officials will need the original Bill of Lading, the invoice, and a copy of Title or Certificate of Origin.
- Once the COTR or AOTR has granted their concurrence and the EXO has given approval, the packet containing the official documents will be sent to Maurice Germain or Catherine Annoual Germain at the General Services Office (GSO) for appropriate action.
- USAID partners are required to only select a certified Customs’ clearance certified broker to process the shipment. A list of designated brokers can be obtained by contacting the USAID Shipping office. It is important to note that customs clearance can take several weeks.
- For further information regarding this matter or to obtain a status update on shipment requests, please contact Mr. Maurice Germain at email address firstname.lastname@example.org or Mrs. Catherine A. Germain at email address email@example.com.