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Panama Import Regs.: Documentation

Discuss the sanitary standards, prohibited imports regulations, licenses, and free trade zone in Panama.

Panama Import Regs.: Documentation

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:04 am

Merchandise imported into Panama must be cleared through customs by a customs broker licensed by the Government of Panama. A customs broker is required to undertake the clearance process for all transactions above $B500.

Goods imported by mail require the duly certified commercial invoice as the shipping document; in post offices where there is an Internet connection declarations can be made in a simplified electronic format. Imports with a value of less than B 100.00 are exempt from duty. Imports whose c.i.f. value does not exceed B 500.00 do not require the intervention of a customs broker and benefit from a simplified procedure requiring the use of a Letter Parcel Form, which can be issued ex officio by the customs officials attached to the Postal Service. Parcels that exceed the limit are subject to the general customs procedures and formalities.

Goods that fall into any of the following categories are imported under duty free status: consigned to national or municipal governments, imported by foreign diplomats, sold to the authorities of the Canal Area, sold to vessels transiting the Canal, or intended for reexport.

Basic import documentation required by the Panamanian Customs office is:

- Import Declaration (Prepared and signed by a Customs Broker),
- Commercial Invoice (To be presented in English or Spanish in quadruplicate),
- Airway Bill,
- Bill of Lading (To be presented in triplicate),
- Commercial License Number,
- Phytosanitary Certificate (In case of animal and plants products, to be obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and,
- Certificate of Free Sale (if required)

Phytosanitary Certificate
Phytosanitary permits are required to import some agricultural products. These were routinely issued in the past but are now frequently refused or delayed as a means of limiting agricultural

Certificate of Free Sale
Any food product or other item used for human consumption (including for use on human skin or clothes) may be subject to the Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) documentation requirement. The main purpose of the CFS is to prevent the dumping of inferior goods, especially for human consumption, on the Panamanian market. The CFS must verify that a product is sold freely and used widely in the United States.

Firearms and Ammunition
Special permits are required for all types of firearms and ammunition. Import permits can be obtained from the Ministry of Government and Justice.

As with other products, software must be accompanied by a bill of lading and a commercial invoice. No documentation is required for products provided electronically over the internet. Importation of refurbished and used computer hardware, parts and accessories, is permitted and does not require special documentation. Computer hardware that is temporarily exported from Panama for repair, etc. will not be dutied upon return provided it is properly registered before leaving the country.

Clearing Goods
If for any reason the bill of lading or any other required document cannot be presented within 24 hours after the shipment has arrived, clearance of the goods will be permitted by posting a bond equal to the amount of import duties. The bond is canceled if the prescribed documents are presented in due form within a period of 90 days. The bond may be extended in justified cases, an additional 90 days.
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