Customs duties

Normal rates and notification requirements

Where are normal customs duty rates for your jurisdiction listed? Is there an exemption for low-value shipments, if so, at what level? Is there a binding tariff information system or similar in place? Are there prior notification requirements for imports?

Custom duty rates upon import and export of goods are set forth in the Executive Decree that contains the Colombian Harmonised Tariff Schedule. If the shipments are equal to or less than US$200, they are exempt from customs duties. In addition, in the latest tax reform, contained in Law 1943 of 2018, it is expressly informed that these jurisdictions are also exempt from Value Added Tax.

The rates were set by Decree 2153/2016, which can be consulted on the following website: https://importacionescarga.dian.gov.co/WebArancel/DefMenuConsultas.faces.

There is an obligation to submit an Anticipated Import Declaration for some products deemed sensitive, such as garments, footwear, steel and aluminium.

Special rates and preferential treatment

Where are special tariff rates, such as under free trade agreements or preferential tariffs, and countries that are given preference listed?

Special tariff rates and countries that may be given preference can be accessed through the DIAN website: https://muisca.dian.gov.co/WebArancel/DefMenuConsultas.faces.

A list of trade agreements subscribed to by Colombia can be consulted at www.tlc.gov.co.

How can GSP treatment for a product be obtained or removed?

Colombia does not grant special treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. Colombia is considered as a developing country that is working towards reaching a sustainable economy and improving the country’s international trade. Thus, preferential treatment is only granted based on the product and its origin, following trade agreements to which Colombia is a party.

Furthermore, according to the UNCTAD List of GSP Beneficiaries of 2018, Colombia is still a GSP beneficiary of Australia, Belarus, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Russian Federation and Turkey.

Is there a duty suspension regime in place? How can duty suspension be obtained?

There is a duty suspension regime in place called Temporal Import for Re-Exportation in Current State, which is applied to capital goods, merchandise destined for sport events, technical tests, participation in fairs and exhibits etc.

These imports are authorised for six months, which can be extended for six additional months. They are guaranteed through an insurance policy of 150 per cent of the import duties.

There are also mechanisms such as free trade zones, which are geographically enclosed extra-territorial areas for import-export duties. While those foreign goods stay in the free trade zones, import duties are suspended. Such duties will only be generated when they exit the free zone into the rest of the country.

Other systems are applied, such as the Special Import-Export System, which allows the importation of raw materials with the respective import duties suspended as long as all of these materials are used to produce exportable goods. This mechanism is authorised and managed by the MCIT, which grants a number of annual import quotas to producers and exporters.

Challenge

Where can customs decisions be challenged in your jurisdiction? What are the procedures?

There is an array of legal remedies that can be presented to different Customs Authority units besides that which adopts the initial decision. This is what is called the ‘administrative route’. Generally, the challenge is filed within 15 days after the initial decision is notified.

The final decision of the Customs Authority can be contested before the Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction. Generally, the interested party has four months to present the claim. Depending on the case’s magnitude, the judicial decision can also be appealed before the last judicial instance, the Council of State.