Tariff & Non-Tariff Barriers
All imported goods, except
those previously exempted by law, are subject to import duties. Import
duties are generally calculated according to the goods' original invoice
price (CIF value). When the buyer does not present the original invoice,
the Customs Service evaluates the market value of the product and
applies the appropriate rate. Imported goods must be declared at Customs
after landing, and the SGS inspects the nature, price, quality, and
quantity, and compares them with those reported in the original invoice.
Mauritania’s membership in
the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the EU/Africa Caribbean Pacific (EU/ACP)
Lomé Pact has supplied some momentum to its trade liberalization policies.
However, Mauritania is one of several developing countries benefiting from a
ten-year exemption in the application of WTO requirements.
In spite of relatively high
tariffs, import demand is growing. The import tax is usually based on
the local market value of the item, rather than the price listed on the
commercial invoice. Customs officials use a list showing import taxes
and duties for various items. Tariffs vary according to the importance
attributed to the particular commodity (between zero and 45 percent, for
instance, for "essential" goods).
Since the economic and trade
liberalization of the early 1990s, trade barriers have been rendered
obsolete. Non-tariff barriers are now limited to delays in transferring
money for payment to suppliers from local banks.
Requirements and Documentation
The documents generally required from
Mauritanian importers include the commercial invoice, the bill of lading or
certificate of origin, and the certificate of inspection given by the
Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). The commercial invoice should
contain the name and address of the seller and buyer, the place and date the
invoice was prepared, the method of shipment, the quantity, description, and
price of the goods, and delivery and payment terms. Payments of large
amounts are usually made by irrevocable and confirmed Letters of Credit
under the control of the Central Bank of Mauritania or by direct transfer
from the bank of the importer abroad to the bank of the exporter. Cash
payments are also frequently used for smaller purchases.
pre-shipment inspection and quality control. The certificate of inspection
should accompany imported goods.
Personal effects, including
professional equipment, that are carried by hand or in luggage may be
temporarily imported into Mauritania free of duties and taxes under the
Customs Convention on Temporary Importation of Professional Equipment. Goods
imported for exhibitions may enter under an ATA carnet, which may be
obtained from the International Chamber of Commerce.