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Import Procedure in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka had been primarily an agricultural and self-dependant sovereign nation in the ancient past. Due to historical, political and economical changes it has ceased to be a self-dependant nation. Today it is mainly dependent on trade and the Imports Division of the Sri Lanka Customs Department plays a vital role in this regard in the economy.

To ensure this task the Imports division consists of three separate units namely Long Room, "D" branch and Postal Appraising unit according to the functions, headed by Director (Imports and Tariff).
Long Room
The Long Room, being the Import Goods Declaration Processing Center for sea cargo, those are subject to Customs duty and other levies, is the highest revenue collecting point in the Customs. From the inception of the Department, the entire import documents processing exercise has been carried on here. With the expansion of import trade over the years the import document process was computerized and Automated Systems for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system was implemented in January 1994 to minimize delays, errors and irregularities and provide efficient and effective service to the trading community.
Postal Appraising Unit
Documentation and delivery of all mail cargo are processed in this office. There are separate counters for Air, Sea, Packets and Express mail. Once the POD (Post Office Document issued by the Postal Department) is submitted the parcel/packet will be examined and appraised by the Customs staff in the presence of the recipient or a nominee and Customs duty and other levies will be collected by the Postal Department.
"D" Branch
The "D" branch is the secretariat of the Imports Division and plays a vital role in the Department. This is the final authority for all the classification disputes, exchange and import control violations and all the documents related to these discrepancies are referred to "D" branch for final decision. Duty waivers, concessions and exemptions are registered and provisional Customs Documents (CUSDECS) and refunds documents are processed here. Registration of Customs house agents, investigations and inquires arising on matters related to the Imports are also conducted in the "D" branch.
Pre-Imports Classification Rulings
As a measure of facilitation to the trade, the Imports Division gives pre import classification ruling on commodities. Importers who desire to have the HS Classification of any commodity that they intend to import, could make an application to the “D” Branch of the Imports Division and obtain such a ruling. At the time of submitting such an application, all particulars of the commodity to be imported, including relevant literature, chemical composition if applicable, the end use of the commodity, etc. will have to be provided. It would be useful if a sample also could be made available to the Customs. Once an application is in order, and had been accepted, a fee of Rs. 300/- has to be paid. Based on the details given by the Importer, the Customs would decide the HS No. applicable to that commodity. This ruling would be binding on the Customs for a period of six months from the date of the ruling.

Last Updated on: 19-05-2010

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