Regulations and customs in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Customs operates under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) which is the lead tax collection agency in Bangladesh. The NBR is part of the Internal Resources Division (IRD) under the Ministry of Finance. The Customs wing of the NBR formulates policies concerning the levy and collection of customs duties and related taxes.
In general, documents required for importation include a letter of credit authorization form, a bill of lading or airway bill, commercial invoice or packing list, and a certificate of origin. For certain imported items or services additional certifications or import permits related to health, security, or other matters are required by the relevant government agencies. Reduced documentation requirements apply for the public sector.
Bangladesh imposes registration requirements on commercial importers and private industrial consumers. In some cases, the registrations specify the maximum dollar values of imports. Commercial importers are defined as those who import goods for sale without further processing. Private industrial consumers are units registered with one of four sponsoring agencies: the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), for industries located in Export Processing Zones (EPZs); the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), for small and medium-sized enterprises; the Bangladesh Handloom Board, for handloom industries run by weavers’ associations engaged in preserving classical Bangladeshi weaving techniques; and the Bangladesh Investment Development Board (BIDA), for all other private industries.
Commercial importers and private industrial consumers (except for those located in EPZs) must register with the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCIE) within the Ministry of Commerce, who issues import registration certificates (IRC). An IRC is generally issued within three working days of receipt of the application. Commercial importers are free to import any quantity of non-restricted items. For industrial consumers, the IRC specifies the maximum value (the “import entitlement”) for each product that the industrial consumer may import each year, including items on the restricted list of imports. The import entitlement is intended as a means to monitor imports of raw materials and machinery, most of which enter Bangladesh at concessional duty rates.
Click here to view : Prohibited and restricted imports
Free import of:
1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1/2 pound of tobacco;
2. For non-muslim visitors:
- if coming for touristic purposes: 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages;
- if coming for other purposes: 1 bottle of alcoholic beverages;
3. perfume and eau de toilette up to a 1/2 pint;
4. gift articles up to the value of BDT 500.- per person.
Not applicable to children accompanying their parents.
Click here to view : Airport tax regulations
Customs Clearance Procedures for Import
For imported goods into Bangladesh, shipping agents submit their manifest data (containing description of imported goods by ship) electronically to the Customs authority. In the case of import by truck (through land customs stations), trucking company/driver submits IGM to the customs authority. Once the Import General Manifest (IGM) is submitted online (In the case of import by truck, manually), the nominated C&F Agent (or the importer himself) completes the goods declaration (popularly known as Bill of Entry or B/E) from their own premises and submits the goods declaration to Customs systems through ASYCUDA World. The declaration or B/E has to be made in a specific format, known as Single Administrative Document (SAD).
The Prescribed Bill of Entry and Bill of Export Form Order, 2001 issued by the NBR outlines the documentary submission requirements. For release of goods from Customs, following documents need to be submitted along with the declaration for all types of imports:
- Letter of Credit (L/C)
- Bill of Lading/AWB/Truck Receipt/Railway Receipt
- Packing List
- “Country of Origin” Certificate (except coal and export oriented garments industries)
- Insurance policy/cover note
- VAT/BIN Certificate
Following additional documents are required for different types of goods, such as:
BDS standard will be mandatory for clearence of 55 items, and in case where no certificate from and accredited laboratory from the exporting country is available, a certificate from the BSTI is necessary, as per Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(28).
Radioactivity test report from the concerned authority of the exporting country for food items (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 16).
Clearance certificate(s) from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission for food items to the effect that the radioactivity level found in the imported food-stuff is within the acceptable limit (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 16(9)).
Pre-shipment Inspection test report for milk food products and powder milk, coal and hard coke, Break Acrylic (HS 39.15 and 3915.90), M.S. Billets (7207) and for items where the value of a single item authorized for import by public sector agencies is Taka fifty lac or above.
Approval letter of the Chief Inspector of Explosives of the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources for import of explosives (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(1)).
Copy of intellectual property certificate (by the IPR holder of the exporting country) in the case of import of branded goods registered under any law related to IP in Bangladesh [Para 5(6)(c) of Import Policy Order, 2015-18]
Once the duties and taxes are assessed by Customs, the importer (or his C&F agent) pays duties and taxes. On payment of duties and taxes assessed, Customs issues release order for clearance and after completion of port formalities, goods are cleared.
Samples valued up to US $100 and weighing up to 5 kg is cleared (through manual system) same-day (in Dhaka Air freight) if the consignee authorizes duty and tax to be billed to the shipper on the Air Waybill. Samples valued over US $100 and weighing more than 5 kg will require formal clearance through ASYCUDA WORLD system.
It is to be noted that for the customs clearance of imported animals, plants and plant products, quarantine conditions (such as certification from quarantine department, fumigation etc.) shall have to be observed. As per Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(60), fumigation is mandatory in case of import of raw cotton produced and packed in Western Hemisphere.
If an import consignment is not cleared within 21 days (of the date of unloading at a Customs airport) or 30 days (of the date of unloading at a customs-port or a land customs station or customs-inland container depot), or within the extended time as the appropriate officer may allow, the consignment may be disposed of through auction [Section 82 of the Customs Act 1969].
In cases, where it is not possible immediately to assess customs duty that may be payable on any imported goods for the reason that the goods require chemical or other test or a further enquiry for purposes of assessment, or that all the documents or complete documents or full information pertaining to those goods have not been furnished, Customs authority may assess the consignment provisionally. In such cases, the importer (except goods entered for warehousing) needs to furnish unconditional bank guarantee/security deposit of an amount (as deemed sufficient by Customs) from a scheduled bank for the payment of the excess amount of duty that may be payable after the final assessment. In this case, the final assessment must be completed within a period of 120 working days from the date of provisional assessment.
Click here to view : Prohibited and restricted imports
Prohibited Items in Bangladesh
On February 15, 2016, the Government of Bangladesh introduced the Import Policy Order 2015-18. The previous policy order expired on June 30, 2015 (however, it remained valid until the Import Policy Order 2015-18 was issued). The Import Policy Order 2015-18 remains valid till date in the absence of a new import policy order. The Import Policy Order 2015-18 puts emphasis on easing the imports of raw materials for use in export-oriented industries. The country of origin must be noted on all products, product packaging, or containers. However, for imports of coal, cotton, aluminum, and export-oriented garment and industrial related raw materials, the country of origin is not required. Nuclear radiation tests are mandatory for imported milk, dairy, edible oil, vegetable seeds, grains, and other food products. Such certification should also be submitted to Customs authorities. Non-commercial importers (individuals and organizations) may import goods worth seven thousand dollars for personal use; with permission, non-commercial importers may import more than seven thousand dollars’ worth of goods. According to the new policy order, ocean-going ships, oil tankers and fishing trawlers older than 25 years cannot be imported. To import abandoned ships (scrap vessels), the exporter or owner must have a certification and importer must issue a declaration to the effect that ‘toxic or hazardous waste are not being transported’.
Items banned on either religious, social, health, or economic policy grounds include illegal drugs, materials that would offend religious sensitivities, certain agricultural products and several types of reconditioned equipment. In addition, the importation of goods from Israel and shipment of goods on vessels operating under the Israeli flag are prohibited. Additional items are restricted, but not banned, from import for religious, social, health, security or trade reasons. Of the restricted items, some may be imported with prior permission, while other items may be imported only by authorized industrial users (e.g., pharmaceutical enterprises) or government agencies (e.g., arms and ammunition).
Click here to view : Customs clearance
Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)
Car import rules :
Vehicles must be right-hand drive and less than 3 years old to be allowed importation. Those with Diplomat and Privileged status may import one vehicle duty-free. All other foreigners and returning Bangladesh nationals may import one vehicle but are subject to duty and advance trade VAT based on assessed value.
Must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate and an import permit.
Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage, in the cabin or as cargo.
Currency Import regulations :
- Local currency (Bangladesh Taka-BDT): up to BDT 100.-.
- Foreign currencies: no limit.
Non Residents :
- Local currency: up to BDT 100.-.
- Foreign currencies: no limit. Amounts over USD 5,000.- (or equivalent) must be declared.