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Duties and Tax Exemption

The National Customs Service of Ecuador (SENAE), with offices in: Cuenca, Esmeraldas, Guayaquil - Puerto Marítimo, Guayaquil - Air Cargo area, Huaquillas, Latacunga, Loja - Macará, Manta, Puerto Bolívar, Quito and Tulcán. All natural or legal persons, Ecuadorian or foreign, residing in the country and who are registered as importers in the ECUAPASS system and approved by the SENAE, can import supplies in the country. The ECUAPASS computer system facilitates the foreign trade and customs control processes, saving time in the import and export procedures.

Duties are exempt, except fees for customs services, on the following cargo:

  • Travelers' personal effects;
  • Household goods and work equipment;
  • Shipments of aid for natural catastrophes or similar disasters in favor of entities of the Public Sector or of private organizations of charity or relief;
  • Those as described in the Cadastre of Public Sector Entities and the Society for the Fight against Cancer (SOLCA);
  • Donations from abroad, in favor of state institutions or the private non-profit sector, designed to cover health services, food, technical assistance, charity, medical assistance, education, and scientific and cultural research, provided that they have signed contracts of cooperation with state institutions. There will be no tax exemption on vehicle donations, except when it is necessary for special uses, such as ambulances, clinical or radiological vehicles, library cars, fire trucks, etc., and provided that their function is compatible with the activity of the beneficiary institution;
  • Coffins or amphoras containing corpses or human remains;
  • Samples without commercial value;
  • Those provided for in the Law on Immunities, Privileges and Diplomatic Franchises, which includes diplomatic and consular representations and missions, international organizations and other foreign government agencies accredited to the national government;
  • Orthopedic vehicles, medical devices, technical aids, special tools, raw materials for orthotics and prostheses used by people with disabilities for their use or the legal entities responsible for their protection;

No more exemptions than those provided in this article are recognized, therefore the exclusions or waivers provided for in other laws, general or special, will not be applied in the liquidation of taxes on foreign trade.

Imports of machinery, implements and other materials necessary for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons directly carried out by companies that have signed contracts with the state for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, in its various forms, during the exploration period and in the first ten years of exploitation, provided that said articles are not produced in the country, they abide by the provisions of article 87 of the Hydrocarbons Law; consequently they will enjoy the exemption of 100 percent of the customs taxes.

https://www.oas.org/juridico/mla/sp/ecu/sp_ecu-mla-law-customs.html (Customs Law).

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow the link: 4.1 Government Contact List

Emergency Response

In humanitarian response, two forms can be presented for the delivery of aid by friend governments:

  1. Through cooperation agencies or government organizations that have among their responsibilities for assistance if requested by the country in which a disaster occurred
  2. By direct delivery through diplomatic representations of other governments

When there is articulation through the Country Humanitarian Team (EPH), the protocols to follow are found, defined and socialized; but if the support is provided by organizations and representations that are not integrated into the work of the EHP, coordination is necessary through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility.  

For this purpose, the country has the Manual for the Management of Humanitarian Assistance International in Situations of Emergency and Disaster - 2012, published by the Secretariat of Risk Management, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Customs Service of Ecuador, Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Ministry and Coordinating Ministry of Security. 

https://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2018/05/Plan-de-Respuesta-EC.pdf

International aid is managed upon request of the Ecuadorian Government and not on the initiative of governments and cooperation agencies, except in the cases stipulated in International Law. Before making contacts to request assistance, Ecuadorian diplomatic representations must wait for the guidelines issued from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which respond to the provisions of the Presidency of the Republic or the governing body for disaster management.

Please also visit United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR brings governments, partners and communities together to reduce disaster risk and losses and to ensure a safer, sustainable future. https://www.undrr.org/


Agreements / Conventions Description

Ratified by Country?

WCO (World Customs Organization) member

Yes – 22 October 2008

Annex J-5 Revised Kyoto Convention

Yes – 13 January 2000

OCHA Model Agreement

No

Tampere Convention (on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations)

No

Regional Agreements (on emergency/disaster response, but also customs unions, regional integration)

Latin American Economic System, Latin American Energy Organization, Latin American Integration Association, Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, Andean Community of Nations, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Exemption Regular Regime (Non-Emergency Response)

All importers must register with Servicio Nacional de Aduana del Ecuador (SENAE) and obtain a company tax number (RUC) issued by the Ecuadorian Internal Revenue Service. There are no requirements of prior notice, but certain goods, such as chemicals, weapons, and animals, require prior control for their importation.

Documents required to import are: a commercial invoice, the original or a copy of the bill of lading or airway bill, an insurance policy in accordance with the insurance law, the Registro Único de Contribuyentes (RUC), certificate of origin where applicable (to qualify for tariff preferences when available) and a certificate of compliance with quality standards (INEN) where applicable.

Special care must be taken in relation to certificates of compliance with quality standards, as requirements may vary from product to product. In some cases, special labeling requirements may apply. Ecuador requires mandatory labeling of food and beverage products containing more than 0.9 percent transgenic content.

Afterward, it is necessary to obtain a document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that authorizes importation without taxes and duties. This document must be also shared with customs, who also must authorize the exemption.

UN agencies are exempt from all customs taxes/duties, and there are no limitations or required licenses. All UN agency imports must use the following tariff code: 9804.00.00. Once the exemption authorization is issued, the customs procedures will be initiated. To note: if the cargo is urgently needed but the exemption document has not been issued, a warranty letter must be issued in order to secure the amount of the taxes. Once the process is finished and the exemption documents are issued, the warranty will be returned.


Organizational Requirements to obtain Duty Free Status

United Nations Agencies

  Must be authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Non-Governmental Organizations

  Must be authorised by Customs according to Customs Law and Tax Regime Law

 

Exemption Certificate Application Procedure

Duties and Taxes Exemption Application Procedure

Generalities (include a list of necessary documentation)

1. Any person or entity may make donations to public entities, UN, NGOs, Legal entities or Natural Persons.

2. The receiver of donation must be legally registered with the national government.

3. Imports of goods donated require a License Prior Import. It is a non-refundable operation. This license is also required for the application for exemption from customs duties.

4. Exemption for Customs tariff.  It is important to note that other donated commodities are listed but they are not exempted from customs duties for this concept, but by the kind of beneficiaries or their destination.

  • Document requesting the exemption to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Document requested by customs (SENAE)
  • Document issued by customs (SENAE)

Process to be followed (step by step or flowchart)

In order to obtain the exemption certificate, UN agencies must first submit a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue the document, prior to obtaining clearance from customs. Ecuador requires the use of an authorized agent for customs clearance. The list of authorized Customs Agents can be found at the following route www.aduana.gob.ec> Services for OCE’s> Customs Agents             

             Preliminary documentation procedure (not limited to)

  1. Tax exemption request
  2. Certificate of existence and legal representation of the donor institution issued not earlier than three (3) months and a copy of the statutes.
  3. Certificate of donation of the person, entity or foreign government, stamped by the Consul of Ecuador in the country of origin, whose signature must be accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or equivalent document duly apostilled, or certification of the person or entity national donor, notary authenticated document.
  4. Description of programs or activities, to which the donated goods are appointed.
  5. Certificate signed by the public accountant or auditor of the donor organization, compliance with legal requirements for the exemption. (quantity and value).
  6. Certificate of existence of final consignee; name, tax identification number address, issued not earlier than three (3) months.

 


Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificate Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicle & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

Invoice

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. For UN and NGOs

Additional Notes

Please note: These requirements apply to the UN and NGOs alike.


Customs Clearance

General Information 

Customs Information

Document Requirements

To carry out the customs clearance of merchandise, the advice and service of an Agent accredited by SENAE is necessary.

The list of authorized Customs Agents can be found at the following route: www.aduana.gob.ec> Services for OCE’s> Customs Agents

The Import Customs Declaration (DAI) must be transmitted by a Software provider or in the computer system of the National Customs Service of Ecuador, in a period not exceeding fifteen calendar days prior to the arrival of the means of transport, and up to thirty calendar days following the date of your arrival; If this period is not fulfilled, the merchandise will be immersed in one of the causes of tacit abandonment, as stipulated in literal a) of article 142 of the Organic Code of Production, Trade and Investments.

According to the type of merchandise to be imported, the following documents must be attached to the DAI:

Accompanying documents

Accompanying documents are constituted those that, called prior control, must be processed and approved before the shipment of the import merchandise. (Art. 72 of the Regulations to Book V of the Copci).

Support documents

They will constitute the basis of the DAI information to any regime. These original documents, whether physical or electronic, must rest in the file of the declarant or his Customs Agent at the time of presentation or transmission of the Customs Declaration, and will be under his responsibility as determined in the Law. (Art 73 of the Regulations to Book V of the Copci).

Transport document

Commercial invoice or document that accredits the commercial transaction

Certificate of Origin (when applicable)

Documents that SENAE or the Foreign Trade Regulatory Body deems necessary.

Once the DAI is transmitted, the computer system of the National Customs Service of Ecuador will grant you a validation number (Endorsement) and the corresponding capacity channel.

Embargoes

None

Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited from being imported into Ecuador through customs and may be seized by customs and border authorities upon arrival:

  • Narcotics/controlled substances
  • Alcohol, cigarettes, and cigars
  • Explosives, ammunitions, swords, air guns, firearms and weapons of any kind. Weapons: chemical, biological and nuclear, Waste: nuclear and / or toxic or prohibited by international conventions, laws or special regulations. In addition, the state regulates the entry of resources of a genetic nature, according to national interests.
  • Pornographic materials, videos, and software
  • Imports of psychotropic medicines and certain precursor chemicals used in narcotics processing require prior authorisation from the National Drug Council (www.prevenciondrogas.gob.ec).

General Restrictions

Restricted items are items which may be limited to certain quantities or require additional duties, taxes, or fees before they can be cleared by customs officials.

Merchandise that does not meet the requirements for legal entry into the country or in transit to others may be affected with the following legal actions: confiscation, confiscation, abandonment or re-export.  Likewise, important restrictions observed are the extreme technical barriers in trade.

The following items are restricted and dutiable by the government of Ecuador:

  • Each individual entering Ecuador is allowed to import up to 200 kilos of clothing, shoes, and personal accessories; importing more than 200 kilos will incur import taxes and duties.
  • All new items will be subject to import taxes and duties, as well as any items in excess of a certain valuation.
  • All electrical items and appliances may be subject to import taxes and duties.
  • Art, antiques, and religious materials may be subject to import taxes and are restricted.

Customs Clearance Document Requirements


Customs Clearance Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicles & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

D&T Exemption Certificate

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy. UN and NGOs

Invoice

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

Yes. 1 copy UN and NGOs.  If it is a donation the certificate must indicate quantity and Commercial Value.

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Yes. AWB/BL. 2 copies. UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Yes. Donation Certificate from the donor, entity or government. The foreign donor must indicate tha quantity and commercial value of donation. 1 copy UN and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs

Phytosanitary Certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

           

Yes, 1 copy,  UN and NGOs  It is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate

Other Documents

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or Certificates. 1 copy, UN and NGOs

Additional Notes

The Servicio Nacional de Aduana del Ecuador - SENAE may prohibit or restrict the customs transit of goods, for public, health, zoo sanitary and phytosanitary or environmental safety. According to the request given by the competent authorities, or when for control reason is required.

Transit Regime 

Ecuadorian regulations allow several special customs regimes of admission for imports that grant duty suspensions, such as: temporary admission for re-export in the same condition, temporary admission for active improvement, transformation under customs control, replacement of merchandise with tariffs, customs depository, re-import in same condition, and clearance under financial guarantee. Some specific regimes of admission allow goods to be kept in special facilities, including some properties owned by the importer, upon prior authorization by the Customs Authority, for up to one year. No duties are paid until the goods are taken out of the facility. Clearance under financial guarantees also allows qualified importers to clear customs with tariff suspension of up to one month upon prior authorization and qualification by the Customs Authority and presentation of a general guarantee.

Other regimes for temporary admission allow importers to intern goods in specific facilities for a specific period in which no customs duties are paid. After that period, if the goods have not been re-exported, full duties shall be paid. There are expedited regimes of admission for imports via courier and international postal traffic. However, these regimes are strictly regulated and limited by the weight and value of the transaction in order to limit their use for commercial purposes that could harm local industries, such as textile industries.

Refer to http://www.aduana.gob.ec for more information.

www.aduana.gob.ec> Services for OCE’s> Customs Agents