November 03, 2021
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Consular stamping requirements

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What are consular stamping requirements?

One of the international trade barriers is the consular stamping requirements. These requirements mean the procedure of obtaining from a consul of the importing country in the territory of the exporting country, or in the territory of a third country, a consular invoice or a consular visa for a commercial invoice, certificate of origin, manifest, shipper's export declaration or any other customs documentation in connection with the importation of the good.

How do they work in practice?

For example, when goods are imported to Paraguay, the Paraguayan customs authorities demand that all the related documentation (commercial invoice, certificate of origin, price list, shipping documents, etc.) have been stamped by the Paraguayan consulate in the country of origin or, where there is no such consulate, in the consulate of the nearest country to the exporter. As the time taken by some Paraguayan consulates to stamp the documents can be up to three weeks, this can result in extra costs at the port of destination, waiting for the stamped documents before the ship can unload or costly delays when sending goods by air. When the documents have not been stamped by the appropriate consulate, the importer is subject to a fine of up to 200% of the normal fee for stamping of the documents. Although this fee has been in place for some time, the law regulating it has been modified making it more difficult and expensive to fulfil the required procedure.

What is a consular invoice?

A consular invoice is a document, often in triplicate, submitted to the consul or embassy of a country to which goods are to be exported before the goods are sent abroad. The consular official certifies this document. The completed consular invoice then travels with the goods and enables the customs officials in the destination country to verify the quantity, value and nature of the goods on arrival. A fee may be charged by the consulate for the checking and approval of the documents.

Is consular stamping required in EU-UK trade?

It is set out in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, that neither party shall require consular transactions, including related fees and charges, in connection with the importation of any good of the other party.

Sources

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, Access2Markets database, Investopedia

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