GUIDE TO IMPORT
In the context of globalization SMEs are likely to import goods worldwide. The 8-step summary chart below provides a guideline about bringing in goods from overseas. However, at best, this can only be a general guide. Each country will have different prohibitions and tariffs on certain goods. Please seek clearance and advice from customs authority before embarking on any import business.
Check Import Laws & Regulations
- This is controlled by the customs authority and a toolbox is available on Mauritius Trade Easy.
- List of the permits required for certain controlled products and the contact details of the body issuing the corresponding permit available on MCCI website.
- Prohibited goods cannot be imported, exported, transited, sold or circulated in Mauritius. Please refer here for the list of prohibited goods.
- Please refer here for the list of prohibited chemicals.
- Controlled goods are those that are listed as per the First Schedule to the Consumer Protection (price and supplies control) Act as shown in this list: Consumer Protection (Control of Imports) Regulations 2017.
Common Intercoms Used:
- FOB (Free On Board) is the most common term that you will hear. This is traditionally used for sea freight but it has been used for other modes of transport as well. FOB means that the seller will bear all the costs and risks until the goods are loaded on board the ship. This usually includes getting export clearance as well.
- CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) requires the seller to pay for the transport of goods and insurance up to the named port of destination. The risk transfers to the buyer when the goods have been loaded on board the ship in the country of export. The seller must also present the invoice, insurance policy and the bill of lading to the buyer.
- EXW (Ex Works) tells the seller to only have the goods ready at their factory or another place. The buyer pays all transportations and bears all the risks until they receive the goods. This is typically used for initial quotations where other costs are excluded.
If all this is making your head spin, It might be easier to appoint a professional shipping agent. For a fee, they will transport your goods from the manufacturer to your warehouse. They will negotiate shipping terms, arrange freight forwarding, clear customs, store your goods and, finally, deliver the goods to you.
Typical Customs Documents
The type of documents that need to be submitted to customs authorities tends to be similar around the world. They include the following documents at a minimum:
i. Invoice: Sale document describing the goods, the quantity and their price in the currency of sale.
ii. Letter of Credit: A letter from your bank that states that they will guarantee payment provided the required documents are in order. If none is provided, you may have to provide a credit card so that your goods will be released to you once they have cleared customs.
iii. Purchase Order: Used to arrange bank financing or to show customs that your order is what you say it is.
iv. Certificates of Origin: A document that verifies the country from which you have imported the merchandise. The country of origin is used by customs to assess tariffs, observe quotas or compel inspection of goods.
v. Bill of Lading: Description of the purchase and contents for shipments by sea.
vi. Airway Bill: Description of the purchase and contents for shipments by air.
vii. Inspection Report: Report from inspection service before leaving the originating country.
Upgrading the skills of employees for SMEs is central to the firm performance in knowledge-based economies. SMEs must be able to adapt quickly to evolving markets, changing circumstances and expand towards export market. A series of capacity building programmes are available via key institutions such as the:
The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has been vested with the responsibility to look after and promote the development of the labour force in Mauritius in line with the requirements of a fast growing economy. The institution is also responsible for the management of the National Training Fund (NTF). Under the NTF, various training incentives are offered to employers in order to allow them to meet part of the training cost of their employees and to support other training initiatives both at enterprise and national levels. Employers can recover up to 75% of course fees depending on their annual levy paid.
Eligibility under the Training Grant System
- Employers should contribute monthly towards the training levy;
- The courses/ training programmes should be MQA approved/ TEC Accredited prior to the start of the courses/programmes
- Grant is restricted to Mauritians or permanent Residents of Mauritius
Rate of refund is based on the annual levy paid by employer and subject to the limit set under the Training Incentive Scheme.
For courses starting up to 08th August 2018, the rate of refund will be based on employer's tax rate as detailed below:
EMPLOYER'S TAX RATE
HRDC RATE OF REFUND
EMPLOYER'S TAX RATE
HRDC RATE OF REFUND
For courses starting as from 09th August 2018, as per the National Budget 2018-2019, the rate of refund of training cost will be based on employer's annual levy paid for previous financial year as detailed below:
Above Rs 20,000
and up to Rs 100,000
PREVIOUS FINANCIAL YEAR
The above is subject to the limit set under the Training Incentive Scheme.
To facilitate SMEs in accessing procurement opportunities and in winning contracts, please visit regularly:
In the global context SMEs are exporting to and importing from all corners of the world and it is imperative that they get accustomed to series of model contracts that take into account the increasing sophistication of international trade transactions, incorporate internationally recognized standards and best practices. Please click here for Model Contracts for Small Firms.
International business brings new opportunities – and new risks – especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) venturing into unfamiliar foreign markets with different languages, cultures and legal systems. To provide the business community with quick, efficient, flexible and confidential means of resolving disputes, through mediation or arbitration, as alternatives to litigation before state courts, SMEs in Mauritius can consult MARC (MCCI Arbitration and Mediation Center).
The key to the expansion of the global economy is the contribution of new knowledge and ideas as a crucial factor in sustained economic growth and development. Digital technology, the Internet, biotechnology, information technology and communication, as well as a host of other such developments play a critical role in what is termed 'the knowledge economy.' Intellectual Property (IP) is increasingly recognized as an economic asset as Mauritius moves towards a knowledge-based economy. Click here for additional information.
Guidelines for Registration of Trademark in Mauritius.
More information on norms and quality standards
The Angel Investors of Mauritius (AIM) is a network of people interested to invest in start-ups and newly incorporated companies, which have a potential to scale up and grow. AIM members have significant entrepreneurial track records and/or successful operational experiences and are willing to bring their competencies to early stage business. For more information, click here.
Register with SME Mauritius and get to participate in a series of market fairs to create awareness and sales of your products and services. Fore more information, please click here.