Bolivia - Customs and duties

Export and import duties have traditionally been an important source of government revenue, but in mid-1985, as part of a drive to stimulate the economy, the Paz government established a uniform 20% duty (which has since been lowered to 10%) on all imports, eliminated tariff exemptions, removed import restrictions except for those related to health and state security, and eliminated all export controls except those on dangerous substances, endangered species, and cultural treasures. Most import charges end up totaling between 30% and 45%. This is considerably higher than the 20% uniform duty due to inspection company fees (2%), customs tariffs (2% for publications, 5% for capital goods, and a 10% flat rate), customs warehouse fees, Internal Revenue Service fees (15%), a specific consumption tax (for luxury good, up to 60%), customs broker fees (up to 2%), and monies for forms and fees. Customs brokers charge up to 20% in fees to cover their own tax liability.

The 1990 Investment Law created a number of Free Trade Zones (FTZs), including those in El Alto, Puerto Aguirre, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Oruro, and Desaguadero. Bolivia had free trade agreements with MERCOSUR countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile) starting in 1997. In 1994, Bolivia signed a free trade agreement with Mexico and continues to lower or eliminate trade barriers.

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