Honduras: Anticipated Customs Statement in Honduras

Written by:

Juan de Dios Herrera

 

The Central American Strategy for Trade Facilitation and Competitiveness with emphasis on Coordinated Border Management, adopted by the Council of Ministers of Economic Integration (COMIECO, its Spanish acronym), contemplates that the Anticipated Customs Statement declaration be completed prior to the arrival of the cargo transport to the border posts.  This measure is meant to facilitate trade, since it contributes to the decongestion of the land cargo transport at the borders. For this reason, through Ministerial Resolution 59-2019 of the Customs Union between the Republics of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, it has been established that the electronic transmission of the Anticipated Customs Statement declaration is mandatory for all customs regimes of exit from and entry into a country, including goods in customs transit, and must be completed prior to the arrival of the goods at the integrated border posts and those that may integrate into the process of the Customs Union.

 

To simplify the procedures of the Honduran Customs Administration (AAH, its Spanish acronym), the use of the Anticipated Statement has been authorized.  It will be processed electronically prior to the arrival of goods, aiming to streamline and simplify customs clearance and reduce the time required for its nationalization. This measure allows verification of the payment of corresponding taxes, which helps decrease the time the goods are in customs, increases the flow of these, and the trade between the countries, and also helps with the consolidation of the customs integration process.

 

In Honduras, the Anticipated Customs Statement must be implemented on a mandatory basis as of October 1, 2020, for the definitive import regimes (code 4000), internal transit from customs to customs (code 8000) and internal transit from customs to Free Zones (code 8100). Goods covered by consolidated transport documents are not subject to the Anticipated Customs Statement, except for internal customs transit to customs (code 8000) and internal transit from customs to Free Zones (code 8100).

 

For these purposes, the AAH will virtually train those involved in the customs clearance processes (customs agents, freight forwarders, consolidators, shipping companies, etc.). Each Assistant of the Customs Public Function (AFPA) must assume the role that corresponds to him/her in order to achieve the use of the Anticipated Statement.

 

In accordance with Article 80 of the Central American Customs Code, “The customs statement may be submitted prior to the arrival of the goods to the country, under the self-determination system, in the cases established in the Regulations“. In turn, Article 330 of the Regulations of the Central American Customs Code states “For the purposes of Article 80 of the Code, the customs statement may be submitted prior to the arrival of the goods, when they are destined for the following regimes:

 

a. Definitive import and its modalities;

b. Temporary import with re-export in the same state;

c. Temporary admission for inward processing;

d. Free zones;

e.Re-importation, including those goods re-imported under the temporary export procedure with re-importation in the same state and the temporary export procedure for outward processing; and

f. Others to be established by the Customs Service.

 

Goods entered under cover of consolidated transport documents may not be subject to an Anticipated Customs Statement. Likewise, other goods that will not be subject to the Anticipated Customs Statement may be established by the higher authority of the Customs Service, in response to physical infrastructure and technology requirements necessary to process these statements and exercise adequate control.

 

Carriers (regardless of shipping, air, or land services) involved in the transportation of cargo subject to the Anticipated Customs Statement are required to transmit the cargo manifest, by electronic means, at least 24 hours in advance in the case of sea cargo, 2 hours in advance in the case of air cargo, and at the time of arrival in the case of land transport.  In the event of errors in the cargo manifest, carriers will have to make corrections expeditiously so as not to delay customs clearance. Carriers also have the obligation to provide a manifest number to the taxable entity, customs agent, or cargo consolidator for the registration of the DUCA. Subsequently, they must deliver the goods in compliance with the formalities required by the corresponding regime. Carriers are prohibited from requiring additional documents from AFPAs. These obligations also apply to customs agents. 

 

As for the obligations of the Customs Depositories, participating in these processes, they must be registered in the Honduran Automated System for Customs Tributes (SARAH), make the goods available once the requirements are met by the applicant and after being authorized by the AAH, communicate inconsistencies to the AAH, and give expedited treatment to the goods under internal customs transit from customs to customs (code 8000) and internal transit from customs to free zones (code 8100). Importers may use all authorized customs warehouses in the country to avoid congestion of the ports and airports.

 

In the case of Internal Customs Transits, carriers must, through their customs agents, register the DUCA-D under SARAH’S internal customs transit regime, requiring the importer or consolidator to provide all the respective documentation prior to the goods’ arrival.  The carrier (AFPA) is solely responsible for the delivery of the goods at their final destination, according to the contract and transport documentation.

 

Requirements to be Considered

 

Carriers are required to provide by electronic transmission or other authorized means, where appropriate, the information contained in the following documents:

 

a. General cargo manifest;

b. Transport document;

c. List of passengers, crew and their baggage with indication of whether they are to be disembarked;

d. On-board supply list;

e. Guide of postal consignments;

f. List of empty transport units destined for the customs port of arrival in the customs territory;

g. List of dangerous goods, such as: explosive, flammable, corrosive, contaminating and radioactive for each port of destination; and

h. Others legally enforceable. In the case of means of transport that arrive without cargo, the documentation that indicates such condition must be presented.

 

Depending on the type of traffic, the cargo manifest shall contain, inter alia, the following data:

 

a. Ports of origin, departure and destination as appropriate, as well as the trip or voyage number;

b. The nationality, name of the vessel, steamer or ship and registration of the means of transport, depending on the traffic involved;

c. Transport document numbers; marks, numbers and number of packages;

d. Identification code and number of containers it carries, as well as information related to the destination of the goods it contains and other equipment used to carry the cargo. The quantity and number of empty containers must also be indicated;

e. Class, contents of packages and their gross weight in kilograms; physical condition of the goods; whether the goods are in bulk, specifying separately the lots of the same kind of goods, in which case the lots shall be considered as one package. It shall also be indicated whether you are carrying dangerous goods, such as: explosive, flammable, corrosive, contaminating and radioactive goods. The Customs Service may specify other goods that must be indicated;

 

f. Place and date of shipment; name or company name of the shipper and consignee;

g. Total packages;

h. Total weight of the load, in kilograms;

i. Description of the goods;

j. Place and date of issue; and

k. Name or company name, code, and signature of the carrier.

 

The customs carrier must provide the Customs Service with the corresponding information on the cargo manifest, by means of electronic data transmission and in accordance with the formats defined by the latter. This information shall be provided within the time limits determined by the Customs Service or in the following:

a. In the case of maritime traffic, the information must be transmitted at least twenty-four hours before the vehicle arrives at the Customs port. If the journey time between the port of departure and the port of destination is shorter, the information must be transmitted at least as far in advance as these deadlines;

b. In the case of air traffic, the information must be transmitted at least two hours prior to the aircraft’s arrival. If the journey time between the port of departure and the port of destination is shorter, the information must be transmitted at least two hours before the aircraft arrives;

c. In the case of deconsolidation and express delivery or courier companies, they must transmit their manifests prior to the arrival of the aircraft; or

d. In the case of land transport, the cargo manifest may be transmitted electronically in advance and, exceptionally, may be presented at the arrival of the means of transport at the relevant customs office or customs approved area.

 

The carrier may modify the information on the previously transmitted cargo manifest, until before the official receipt of the means of transport.

 

In the case of exit manifests, each Customs Service shall determine the time limits within which they are to be transmitted.

 

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