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Cuban Customs Measures on Non-Commercial Imports

Jul 29 , 2022

The Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba No. 45, published on Thursday, includes three resolutions establishing the new rules for non-commercial imports made by natural persons, as well as the modifications of customs tariffs for maritime, air and postal shipments. Please check our blog to read the Official document from Cuba.


What do these legal documents consist of?


These legal documents will enter into force on the 15th of next year, bearing in mind that these regulations concern tariff benefits. Meisi Bolaños, Minister of Finance and Prices, and Nelson Cordovés Reyes, head of the General Customs of the Republic, gave details in a TV appearance on La Mesa Redonda.

During his speech, Mr. Bolaños highlighted the fact that the measures for the recovery of the economy, recently announced by the Government, begin with the flexibility of non-commercial imports by natural persons.

He referred to Resolution 204 of the MEP, published this Thursday in the Official Gazette of the Republic. This rule eases “the minimum exemption based on the increase of what can be sent by sea, mail or courier to the country”. At the same time, it lowers the tariff rate.


New customs conditions in Cuba


Therefore, by means of shipments, it is possible to import up to US$200, which is equivalent to 20 kg according to the rules of the General Customs of the Republic (1 kg is equivalent to US$10).

The minister highlighted that until now the limit was 10 kg, at the same cost (US$200). The new rule keeps the amount, although it doubles the weight.

She commented that people interested in sending packages to Cuba may take advantage of the same shipment to bring more weight.

Another measure is to increase to 3 kg (today it is 1.5 kg) the package weight for which no duty is payable.

“This is not related to the freight forwarders, acting as intermediaries in the relationship between the person who is sending the package and the person who is receiving it in Cuba. This rule concerns the tariff rate to be paid by the person who receives in Cuba a package from abroad,” the minister explained.

The third provision is a reduction in the customs duty payable for the remaining 17 kg. Until today, the person had to pay the 100% of the value. For example, when a 10 kg shipment was received, approximately 4,080 CUP was charged in customs duties.


What will customs duties be like from now on?


After August 15, for the remaining weight, there will only be a duty of 30% of the Customs value of the package received from abroad. This is paid in Cuban pesos, according to the current exchange rate.

For example, the tax to be paid for a 20 kg shipment would now be reduced to 1,224 CUP, i.e., the weight of the package would be increased by double and the amount paid in duties would be reduced by 70%.

“With the new rule if you receive a 10 kg package, 30% is applied to 7 kg, which is equivalent to 30% of 70 USD x 24 CUP. However, under current conditions this would be 100% of 70 USD x 24 CUP.

“There is an important change and a major discount in order to reduce the cost for the Cuban population and families of receiving shipments and parcels from abroad.”

The minister highlighted the need to work towards ensuring that this service meets quality standards so that people receive their package within the established schedule.

Regarding shipments already in the country and not yet cleared, the regulation stipulates that these benefits apply to shipments cleared by Customs after August 15, regardless of whether the package has arrived in the country before that date.

Cordovés repeated that these are measures that will be of benefit to a part of the population.

Official Gazette No. 45 includes two resolutions issued by such agency: 175 and 176.

The second rules provides that one kilogram (of miscellaneous and other products sent to Cuba by air, sea, postal and non-commercial courier shipments) costs US$10; previously it was US$20. At the same time, the weight of the package for which no duty is payable is increased to 3 kg.

As explained, the final payment for items imported by shipments also has the same 30% of that rate.

He confirmed that there is still 10 kg of medicines exempted from payment by the shipping method as set up long time ago.

Resolution 175, amending the 2014 regulations, sets forth the rules for non-commercial imports made by individuals and lists reference values for some products, intended as a “guide or recommendation for the calculation of the tax to be charged by Customs”.

According to Cordovés Reyes, this regulation confirms the definition of non-commercial importation: an import made by natural persons occasionally for their personal, family or household use, by means of luggage, shipments, messages or other authorized cargo”.

The customs authority admits imported goods and products under the following conditions:

corresponding to non-commercial imports.

being declared in a transparent manner and that the quantities to be imported are wide-ranging.

That the import does not exceed the limit established as appropriate (US$200 for shipments and up to US$1,000 for accompanied and not accompanied baggage).

That the nature and functions of an article or the repetition of the imports performed do not show evidence of a commercial purpose.


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