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The Lao PDR government has been facilitating the import of humanitarian aid for an extended period of time. All humanitarian aid projects/programs are required to have the appropriate level of Government approval and are subject to certain controls. In general, all goods classified as humanitarian assistance or as grant aid are eligible for tax exemption as mentioned above. In the circumstance of an emergency, all humanitarian aid organizations can liaise with relevant Disaster Management Committee or the Central Disaster Management Committee and this committee will decide if any special customs measures and exemptions would apply.

Agreements / Conventions Description

Ratified by Country?

WCO (World Customs Organization) member

Yes,  16 Jan 07

Annex J-5 Revised Kyoto Convention

No 

OCHA Model Agreement

Yes

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)

No

Exemption Regular Regime (Non-Emergency Response): 

Exemption from Customs duties and other obligations are also available for diplomatic missions, for goods imported under a government investment promotion scheme. Goods eligible for exemptions include humanitarian assistance; grant aid from foreign countries; goods and vehicles for diplomatic missions; goods and vehicles by approved international organizations or international non-governmental organizations; samples and items for scientific research that are not of a commercial nature; goods brought into and out of special economic zones and specific economic zones, etc.


Organizational Requirements to obtain Duty Free Status

United Nations Agencies

 A request for Tax Exemption status must be sent to respective Ministry/Department.

Non Governmental Organizations

NGO’s must be registered with the relevant Government authority, depending on their scope of work. They need to sign a MOU or LOU with the respective Ministry/Department to carry out their intended project activities and acquire a permit/license to import cargo. A request for Tax Exemption status must be sent to the relevant ministry where the NGO has registered.

Exemption Certificate Application Procedure: 

Duties and Taxes Exemption Application Procedure

Generalities (include a list of necessary documentation)

 Application letter for duty exemption, invoice, Packing list, B/L, relevant certificates.

Process to be followed

Non-Food Items

The importing organization or agency is required to submit (well in advance), a written notification of arrival and application for exemption (indicating details of the commodities) to the relevant partner government ministry (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of International Organizations). Depending on the nature of the good, the ministry may seek internal approvals (e.g. protocol department) or supporting documentation from another ministry (e.g. Ministry of Transport for Vehicles). The partner ministry will then issue a request for tax exemption addressed to the Lao Customs Department. Reference may be made to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the humanitarian organization or agency and the partner ministry. The request for tax exemption is presented to Customs together with the declaration form and all supporting documents: Commercial Invoice; Bill of Lading or Air Waybill; Packing List; Certificate of Origin, etc. The rest of the process will follow the general procedure outlined above (see General Import Procedure).

Food Commodities

The organization or agency wishing to import food products must present various documents to the Department of Food of the Ministry of Health in order to obtain an Import Permit – before the Customs Declaration Process. The application must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents that will enable the Ministry of Health to assess the product. These documents may include an Analysis Certificate, Phytosanitary Certificate, Fumigation certificate, Certificate of Origin, or any other certificates.

Once the Import Permit has been issued, it must be presented to Customs and to the Ministry of Health Inspector at the border when importing the goods. The importer then proceeds with the normal import procedure. When the goods arrive at the border the import or his authorized agent must present himself to the Ministry of Health Officer who will check the documents and will carry out a physical inspection of the products to allow the consignment to be cleared.

Exemption Certificate Document Requirements

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, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Other Documents

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Additional Notes

  • Phyto Certificate to be addressed to THE PLANT PROTECTION ORG. OF Laos; One Phyto Certificate per one SWB or B/L and tonnage in Phyto Certificate must be same as SWB or B/L and Packing list.
  • Certificate of Origin (provided by the exporter).
  • Any import licenses or permits obtained from other ministries depending on the type of goods you are importing such as MOU, MOA, LOA.

Customs Clearance

General Information 

Customs Information

Document Requirements

All goods imported into Laos must be declared and duty is payable on them unless they are covered by an exemption or a suspension. A declaration is made by submitting a duly completed and signed ACDD form (ACDD (http://www.laotradeportal.gov.la/index.php?r=SearchForms/view&id=9)).

A declaration must be submitted within 15 days from the date of lodgement with Customs of the transport documents (e.g. manifest) notifying Customs of the arrival of the cargo.

Embargoes

None

Prohibited Items

Import or export goods subject to prohibition of import and export unless authorized by the Government of Lao PDR; Import or export goods subject to licensing prior to obtaining a license and import or export goods subject to the requirements on sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) or technical regulations (TBT) prior to being controlled or certified the SPS and technical regulations (TBT).

General Restrictions

In February 2010, the Lao government launched the Decree on Import and Export Licensing procedures of Controlled Goods, No. 180 PMO, in a bid to comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO) rules. Laos also began implementing the Notification for Goods Subject to Non-Automatic Import and Export Licensing and Goods Subject to Automatic Import and Export Licensing, No 2151/MOIC.

For more information, please contact the Department of Import and Export Management: http://www.moic.gov.la/

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, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Invoice

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Phytosanitary Certificate

Yes, Original, 1 copy, applies to both UN and NGO

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Other Documents

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and NGOs

Additional Notes

  • Phyto Certificate is applied to the gain commodities. One Phyto Certificate per one SWB or B/L and tonnage in Phyto Certificate must be same as SWB or B/L and Packing list. The other kind of food the Certificate of Analysis and Free Sale Certificate are applied.
  • Certificate of Origin (provided by the exporter).
  • Any import licenses or permits obtained from other ministries depending on the type of goods you are importing

Transit Regime

Importer or exporter can import, or export engage in transit shipment of transit goods according to the rights in the import and export and import or export goods subject to licensing after obtaining import or export license from the Import and Export Administration Authorities. The transit shipment through Lao PDR shall strictly follow the determined routes, entry and departure checkpoints, and timeframe. The transit goods shall be in the same amounts and conditions upon entry and exit from the Lao PDR under the surveillance by Customs officers of Lao PDR.

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