How to Import from China to Senegal: Duties, Permits, and Customs Clearance

Basic knowledge import gives German exporters a brief overview of import procedures, accompanying documents, duties to be paid as well as bans and restrictions in Senegal.

International trade agreements and import duties

Senegal is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union UEMOA and the West African Economic Community ECOWAS, which negotiated a Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) in 2014. The EPA has not yet been signed by all contracting states. After it comes into force, the tariffs for 75 percent of goods originating in the EU will be gradually dismantled in West Africa over a period of 20 years. With regard to third countries, Senegal applies the common external tariff of ECOWAS with five tariff rates: 0 percent for basic consumer goods, 5 percent for raw materials and capital goods, 10 percent for intermediate products, 20 percent for finished goods and 35 percent for sensitive goods. Temporary special taxes are sometimes levied on certain agricultural products.
The import sales tax is 18 percent. Certain foods, beverages, tobacco products, cosmetic products, fuels and motor vehicles are subject to excise duty. Additional taxes are levied on alcoholic beverages, mining and quarry products, and cement. In addition, there are community levies for UEMOA (1% plus 1% statistics levy), ECOWAS (0.5%) and OHADA (0.05%) as well as a port fee (0.4%) for imports of goods by sea.

Customs clearance

With a few exceptions, deliveries of goods with an FOB value of 3 million CFA francs or more and all container shipments are subject to a pre-shipment inspection carried out by the commissioned testing service provider Cotecna in the export country. From a fob value of 1 million FCFA an import declaration (Déclaration Préalable d’Importation DPI) must be submitted, imports with a value of more than 10 million FCFA require domiciliation at an authorized bank. An electronic advance notification (BESC) via the Senegalese freight forwarder association COSEC is mandatory for sea freight shipments. The importer is generally obliged to commission a licensed customs agent to register the goods for a specific customs procedure (list is available on the website of the customs authorities). The customs formalities are processed electronically via the “Gainde intégral” customs clearance system. For the temporary import of professional equipment, samples, exhibition and trade fair goods, the ATA Carnet can be used within the framework of national regulations.

Import licenses / permits

Health certificates must be submitted for living animals, plants and their products. The import of food, pharmaceuticals, gold and telecommunications equipment requires a license, pharmaceuticals and pesticides are subject to registration. A license is required for petroleum products. Sensitive products such as sugar, wheat flour, tomato concentrate, vegetable oils, electric batteries, textbooks and vehicles may only be imported via the port of Dakar.

Shipping documents

The following documents accompanying the goods must be enclosed with the customs declaration: commercial invoice, freight documents, if applicable certificate of origin, packing list, proof of insurance and, depending on the goods, other certificates such as health certificates, analysis certificates or certificates of conformity. Food requires a separate import declaration (DIPA) issued by the Ministry of Commerce after quality control.

Labeling and identification regulations, packaging

For some goods such as prepackaged foods, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pharmaceuticals and pesticides, special labeling and marking regulations apply. The information required should be clearly legible and indelible in French. The following products intended for sale in Senegal must be marked with the note “Vente au Sénégal”: matches, cigarettes, R20 batteries, household candles, printed clothing called “wax” and “Légos” and alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of more than 20 percent. The customary marking of the packages is sufficient, the indication “Importé de…” is recommended. Wooden packaging must comply with the IPPC standard ISPM No. 15.

Import bans

There are currently import bans in Senegal for drugs and narcotics, light bulbs, weapons and ammunition, pornographic material, used vehicles exceeding the maximum age limit, motorcycles and motorcycles with a cubic capacity of less than 50 ccm and plastic bags with a thickness of less than 30 micrometers. Seasonal foods such as carrots, onions and potatoes produced in Senegal are temporarily banned from imports. To protect against bird flu, poultry products are not allowed to be imported.

Certification, norms and standards

Technical regulations apply to refined edible oils (enriched with vitamin A), soft wheat flour (iron and folic acid), tomato concentrate (without any additives), milk powder, reinforcing steel, biodegradable packaging and lamps. The national standards organization is the Association Sénégalaise de Normalization (ASN).

Customs office:

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