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FAQs

1
Where do we go to obtain an export/import license?
Different sectors and commodities have their respective agencies. Export license for agricultural items can be obtained from Agriculture and Quarantine Department. Similarly Fisheries Department deals with licenses for export of Fish products and Customs department deals with licenses for miscellaneous commodities.
2
What is the role of a freight forwarder?
Traditionally freight forwarders provide exporters or importers with assistance in transporting their product from point A to point B. This includes assisting exporters with advice and formal paper work that must be completed to ensure smooth export of cargo. Over the years, their role has been extended to the entire supply chain. Not only do they act as an exporter’s “shipping department”, their roles also encompass shipping, product sourcing, inventory management, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution.
3
Do I need a freight forwarder?
You do not necessarily require a freight forwarder but first time exporters can save themselves a lot of trouble if they engage a freight forwarder to ensure that their product makes it safely to its intended destination. Freight forwarders can assist importers and exporters through advice on trade developments, government incentives, customs clearance, insurance, inventory management, logistics and supply-chain management of value-added activities, as well as other documentation issues, to name a few.
4
What are the disadvantages and advantages of using a freight forwarder?
Advantages:

• Freight forwarders are aware of the formal paper work and boarder agency requirements of most export destinations for air-freight and sea-freight shipments. Thus, their expertise is critical in ensuring that the clients’ shipment reaches its intended destination in the shortest possible time.

• They are able to assist exporters in completing the documentation requirements for most products. However, for some dangerous or hazardous goods, the exporter must complete certain documents.

• A freight forwarder usually has access to preferential rates/services from airlines, shipping lines, trucking companies, etc. They are able to pass these savings on to the exporter.

• They can arrange for the transport of huge numbers of consignments and consolidate loads going to a single destination to keep freight charges down for individual traders. However, as with most business transactions, one should compare prices from a range of suppliers to find the best level of cost and service for you.

• A freight forwarder can complete the necessary export permits as well as provide: freight collect services (financial); and also assist in collecting funds from the importer.


Disadvantages:

• A primary limitation to a freight forwarder relates to their services fee which varies between companies. A freight forwarder generally operates on bundle rate and it can be difficult to define services to applicable fee.

• A freight forwarder may change agency representation and if transition is not managed properly, clients end up paying exorbitant fees.

• Some freight forwarders do not operate as Custom license agents so you will need to deal with Licensed Custom Brokers to handle your custom paper work.
5
How do I find a freight forwarder?
Most export forwarders can be found in the telephone directory. They are usually categorised under ‘Freight forwarders’ or ‘Air service & agents’.

You may also contact the Fiji Export Council which is equipped in providing you advice on export and import needs.
6
What paper work has to be done?
There are two main documentations that you are required to process for standard export namely, Commercial Invoice and Packing List. For goods valued at more than $20,000.00, you will be requested to complete an Export License Form (Form F) for Reserve Bank of Fiji’s remittance purposes.

Depending on the type of goods, certain commodities may require a License or Permit, Phytosanitary Certificate or Certificate of Origin. For countries that have bilateral agreements with Fiji, there may be specific documentations or validation required by the importing countries’ recommended agencies.
7
Where do I lodge this paper work?
Paper work can be lodged at a number of places, including:

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA) & Fiji Biosecurity (Quarantine) Service Division (FBSD): If a freight forwarder is involved, they will complete all your Government paper work requirements. Alternatively if no forwarder is involved than you, the exporter, must lodge documents with FIRCA and FBSD to receive the necessary export permits (if required).

Banking: If the shipment is under letter of credit or another form of controlled bank payment then the exporter needs to lodge all document with his/her respective bank.

Consignee: If there are no banking requirements, the exporter must immediately mail or courier copies or originals of the paper work, required for exporting the product, to the importer e.g. Customs Declarations, Quarantine Certificates, Export Permits, etc.
8
What clearances do I need?
Shipments to most countries require completed Customs clearance forms. Some products might need additional compliance procedures to be followed, which will also necessitate additional customs clearance paper work to be completed. These additional requirements might be quarantine related, that is, a certificate from authorities showing that the product has been treated in a particular way, excise duties or special permits (if necessary).
9
What is the role of the importer in the receiving country?
The role of the importer varies according to the agreed exporter-¬importer relationship pre-arranged. Traditionally the importer is responsible for the marketing and selling of the product. For this service he/she will buy from the exporter at an agreed price and sell the product (wholesale or retail) at an agreed price.

This relationship is usually formalised in a written agreement. In addition there are product and liability requirements that have to be agreed upon by both parties, for example product specifications. The parties must also form an agreement on the warehousing of the product, stock control insurance and accounting issues.
 
10
What are my responsibilities (as the exporter) once my product has arrived at the export destination?
The exporter must ensure that the product has arrived with the correct paper work. Specific product and liability requirements depend on the sale agreement the exporter has with the importer.
11
How does my product get cleared through Customs?
Usually your importer has a nominated customs broker/agent who is duly authorized to clear all shipments for the importer through Customs and Quarantine Department of the receiving country. On completion of the necessary customs procedures and after relevant taxes/duties are paid, the shipment will be released from customs control to the importer’s customs agent.
12
What is a customs agent & do I need a customs agent?
A customs agent is an authorised representative of the importer who is able to act on his/her behalf in relation to all the regulatory government organisations, such as FIRCA and FBSD. Freight forwarders can provide this service or recommend a customs agent to the importer.

The use of a customs agent is not mandatory. However, the complexity of some government regulations and requirements of importing countries regarding customs clearances often demand the services of Customs brokers/agents.

This will expedite the clearance process and also minimize incorrect information being provided to customs authorities. As a result, the possibility of having to pay excess duty, potential fines, and additional storage and staff costs, because of customs issues and delays, is reduced.
 
13
What is the role of the Quarantine Department?
The Fiji Biosecurity Services Division (FBSD) manages quarantine controls at our borders to minimize the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. The FBSD also provides import and export inspection and certification to help retain Fiji's highly favorable animal, plant and human health status and wide access to overseas export markets.

Fiji is free from a number of exotic pest and disease, such as foot and mouth disease that have had major economic and environmental consequences for other countries.

As international travel has become easier, the job of keeping Fiji free of unwanted pests has become more demanding. FBSD continuously looks to improve the effectiveness of the quarantine effort by working closely with other areas within stakeholders to manage Fiji’s Biosecurity system. The Division also works closely with other Fiji Government agencies—such as Fiji Customs, Fiji ports, Airline Terminal Services, Airport Fiji Limited, Post Fiji —to support their management of post-border detections and incursions of quarantine pests and diseases, and to support our own verification and certification activities for agriculture and food products.
 
14
How do Quarantine Controls affect International Trade?
Market Access

The Ministry of Primary Industries and Fiji Biosecurity (Quarantine) Services Division works to remove trade barriers and improve access in key markets for Fiji’s primary and processed food industries.

The Division:

• Identifies trade barriers and addresses them through bilateral talks at ministerial and senior official level, including through the ministries representatives in Fijis missions in Australia, Beijing, Brussels, Malaysia, New Delhi, London, Wellington, Tokyo and Washington;
• Contributes to Fiji Government policies affecting agricultural trade and international relations;
• Maintains and improves market access opportunities through Free Trade Agreements and other bilateral agreements;
• Maintains and improves opportunities through technical market access negotiations;
• Facilitates technical assistance and agricultural cooperation with other countries;
• Mitigates external risks to our plant and animal health status; and,
• Works with international organizations to develop international trade standards that facilitate trade of Fiji products, and reflects Fiji policy positions and interests.

These organizations include:
o WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
o Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
o World organization for Animal Health
o International Plant Protection Convention
o Codex Alimentarius Commission

Its role is to:

• open up trade opportunities for Fiji’s agricultural exporters and maintain existing trading relationships;
• establish strong multilateral, bilateral and regional relationships with trading partners;
• reduce international trade distortions;
• provide technical assistance to support Fiji’s agricultural exports;
• oversee policies to reduce risks to Fiji’s plant and animal health status from exotic pests and diseases, and
• develop international trade standards for agricultural exports.
15
Do I need a license to export?
Obtaining an export license

Application forms are available on the website - www.quarantine.gov.fj

The steps below outline the process involved in obtaining an export license:

1. Forward to Fiji Biosecurity Services Division an Application for a Export Licenses
2. License application fee ($5.63)
3. Renewal of license
4. Amendments to a current license
5. Auditing

• License Application fee

A $5.63 export license application fee is applicable.

Renewal of license

An export license must be renewed every year. A new Application for an Export License form will need to be submitted. Exporters will be advised of requirements and procedures for having their license renewed closer to the expiry date of their license.

Amendments to a Current License

Amendments to an exporter's current export license can be made throughout the year. These may include the following:

• Amendments to types of species/varieties permitted to be exported.
• Amendments to mode of transport.
• Amendments to person in management and control.
• Amendments to partnership of business
• Other (e.g. change of relocation, contact details)

Auditing

As a holder of an export license, the exporter will be formally audited by FBSD. The purpose of this audit is to determine the extent that the licensed exporter has prepared for export in accordance with the following:

• The Fruit Export & Marketing Act (chapter 154) (section 7)and Biosecurity Promulgation 2008
• Fiji’s Standards for the Export of Fruits & Vegetables and animals products
• The exporter's operations and BQA manuals
• Any license conditions
16
What are the costs associated with Quarantine Services?
• Fees for quarantine stations for cats and dogs

Please be aware that fees are subject to change without notice. It is the responsibility of the client to regularly check with the Fiji Biosecurity Services division.

The total fee for quarantine service is calculated after your animal/s arrives. Invoices are issued for these services. The total of the invoice is payable before the collection of animal(s) from quarantine.

The Division accepts payment by cash.

Further to the fees and charges listed below there may be other costs associated with import clearance, parasite treatment, veterinary care or other services provided for your animal(s) whilst in quarantine. These additional fees will appear on the final invoice.

All invoices must be paid in full before FBSD will release your animal/s from quarantine.

Approximate quarantine costs for dogs and cats

A dog quarantine accommodation and eligible for minimum quarantine period of 7 days will cost approximately $212 and 30 days will cost approximately $742 .Note: This is an approximate cost only. The total cost will be confirmed by the quarantine station after your dog’s arrival.

Further to the fees and charges listed above there may be other costs associated with import clearance, parasite treatment, veterinary care or other services provided for your dog/cat whilst in quarantine. These additional fees will appear on the final invoice.

Additional Information

About Fiji Biosecurity (Quarantine) Services Division
 
Contact
FIJI BIOSECURITY SERVICES DIVISION
MINISTRY OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES
PO BOX 18360, SUVA.
Tel: 679-3312512
FAX:679-3305043
Website: www.quarantine.gov.fj
17
What is Exchange Control?
Exchange Control is the Government’s regulations with regards to foreign exchange transactions directly and indirectly, between Fiji and the rest of the world.
18
Why do we have Exchange Control?
Primarily Exchange Control is imposed for the purpose of regulating and monitoring capital inflows and outflows in order to protect Fiji’s foreign exchange reserves and maintain a healthy balance of payments position.

The exchange control regulations of Fiji are being progressively relaxed on an annual basis with the aim of attaining complete deregulation in its foreign exchange policy as the country’s economic fundamentals improve.
 
19
Who administers Exchange Control in Fiji?
The Reserve Bank of Fiji administers the Exchange Control Act as delegated to it by the Minister of Finance (Government) under Section 48 of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Act.

This role is in line with one of the principal aims of the Reserve Bank, which is to promote credit and exchange conditions conducive to the orderly and balanced economic development of the country.
20
How does Exchange Control affect my international trade?
You have to comply with the documentation requirements of the Reserve Bank of Fiji for monitoring purposes. As the international trade between residents of Fiji and the rest of the world involves payments and/or receipts in foreign exchange, the reserves of Fiji have to be managed prudently, safely and profitably in order to meet external payment obligations.
 
21
How does Exchange Control affect my international trade?
You have to comply with the documentation requirements of the Reserve Bank of Fiji for monitoring purposes. As the international trade between residents of Fiji and the rest of the world involves payments and/or receipts in foreign exchange, the reserves of Fiji have to be managed prudently, safely and profitably in order to meet external payment obligations.
 
22
What transactions in foreign exchange are delegated to Authorised Dealers?
Trade related current account transactions have been delegated up to certain limits to Authorised Dealers .
23
What trade related transactions still require Reserve Bank approval?
All capital account transactions and some current account transactions require approval of the Reserve Bank.

These include:

• Transfer of capital and income for which there is no ceiling provided, however all amounts require an RBF approval;
• Maintenance of foreign currency accounts and selected external accounts;
• Issue and transfer of shares involving non-resident shareholders;
• Local borrowing by non-resident individuals and non-resident controlled companies;
• Offshore borrowing;
• Overseas investment by residents is suspended;
• Payments and advance import payments above $20,000 per invoice;
• Emigration allowance (no delegated limit);
• Withdrawal of Investment (no delegated limit);
• Offsetting of Foreign Exchanges against foreign exchange bills payable in respect of merchandise imports above $100,000 per amount due; and
• Loan repayment above $100,000 per scheduled payment.
 
24
How can I make advance payments for imports?
Commercial banks can arrange advance payment for imports not yet landed in Fiji on the basis of supporting documents from suppliers.
25
How are payments made for regular commercial imports?
Commercial banks are fully delegated to effect payments for imports that have arrived in Fiji against sight of the relevant Customs Invoice.

26
What investment opportunities exist in Fiji for non-resident investors?
A wide range of investment opportunities exist in Fiji for which Government provides support and offers various incentives, especially for investment in areas of export related businesses, tourism and the agricultural products processing sector.
27
How is approval to invest obtained?
The Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau (Investment Fiji) is the first point of contact for all investment by non-resident investors for obtaining approval.

Prior approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji, in liaison with Investment Fiji, is required when shares and other securities in businesses incorporated in Fiji are to be issued to or sold by non-resident investors.
 
28
What type of accounts can non-resident investors maintain and operate in Fiji?
Foreign investors can open and operate either one or both of the following accounts with the commercial banks without Reserve Bank approval if they meet standard individual criteria:

• Fiji dollar external or foreign currency account for personal use. This includes all foreign currency provided by the commercial banks.
• Fiji dollar resident account for a company.

Both accounts are interest bearing.
29
Is transfer of capital and income out of Fiji easy?
Yes.
 
Foreign investors can repatriate all funds brought into Fiji and recorded with the Reserve Bank plus any income earned from their business.

Applications need to be first referred to the Reserve Bank for approval which is readily provided if documentary requirements are met.
 
30
Is offshore investment possible for Fijians or businesses incorporated in Fiji?
No.

This is currently suspended.
31
Can locally incorporated companies set up sales offices or subsidiaries abroad?
This was previously possible, however currently suspended.
32
Is exporting cumbersome in Fiji?
No. It is rather a simplified operation. For all exports valued at $20,000 and above, the exporter has to complete an Export Licence (Form F) in 4 copies and submit it to Customs together with the Customs Export Entry.

After Customs have processed the export documentation, two copies of Form F will be returned to the exporter, one copy will be sent to the Reserve Bank and the other will be retained by Customs.
33
Is there any encouragement to export?
Yes. The Government has fully recognised the importance of exports and the need for export led growth for the country. Each year it awards the prestigious Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Award to one of the country’s leading exporters, as an acknowledgement of their contributions to Fiji. In addition, a facility termed Export Finance Facility is available with the Reserve Bank.

This facility is provided to help improve international competitiveness and also ensure the availability of credit to the export sector. Exporters can access this fund through their commercial banks at concessional rates of interest.
34
What does the Reserve Bank do to encourage exports?
The Reserve Bank, in line with its objective to enhance growth and safeguard the country’s foreign reserves, introduced various measures to facilitate growth and increase receipt of export proceeds.

The principal facilities are set out in the following paragraphs.
35
How can I avoid incurring extra cost when confirming the receipt of my export proceeds to the Reserve Bank as required under the Exchange Control Act?
Extra costs can be avoided by strict instructions to buyers to quote Export Licence Number(s) (on Form F) in addition to other important particulars, when making payments. Exporters are required to quote Export Licence Number(s) in shipping documentation.

The reference given in the payment instruction(s) will enable the commercial banks in Fiji to quote the same reference to the Reserve Bank when reporting their overseas exchange transactions. This will greatly save exporters from incurring extra costs in dealing with queries from the commercial banks.

For more information contact:

Reserve Bank of Fiji, Pratt Street
Private Mail Bag
Suva, Fiji
Tel: 3313 611 Fax: 3301 688
Website: www.reservebank.gov.fj
 
36
Can I claim back import duty paid on goods or materials exported?
Claims may be made on import duty paid on goods or materials exported, either through drawback or Duty Suspension Scheme (DSS) discussed later in this document.
37
How does exchange control affect my exports?
If the (Freight On Board) FOB value of the export consignment exceeds $20,000, applications are to be made to Customs for an Exchange Control Export Licence, wherein a Form F (CU503) will be issued by the Comptroller of Customs.

After processing, a copy will be sent to the Reserve Bank of Fiji. For further information see the Exchange Control section.
38
Are there export duties to pay?
At present export duties apply only to gold and sugar.
39
What about VAT?
Exports are normally zero rated. This means VAT is claimed on exports. For more information, check with Customs about zero rating of exports.
40
What do I need to do to export?
Declare goods to Customs before exporting
41
What information do I have to declare?
Declaration of the following full information is mandatory:

• Shipment arrangements;
• Bill of Lading;
• Packing and Marks and Numbers;
• Consignor including their TIN (Tax Identification Number);
• Consignee (that is the person to whom the goods are being sent);
• The goods, classified in accordance with the Customs Tariff, including quantity, value and any licence requirements.
42
How do I make an export declaration?
The exporter or a nominated Agent must make a written export declaration known as an Export Entry, to Customs prior to shipment.
43
What forms are needed?
A Customs Export Entry (Form EX1) which is available electronically from Customs, or enquire with an Agent, if their service is being used.

The form must be accompanied by the following supporting documents:

• Invoices
• Exchange Control Export Licence (Form F) if required
• Other Export Licence if required
44
How do I set about making my declaration to Customs?
The exporter may make the declaration or a nominated licensed Customs Agent.
45
What is a Customs Agent?
A Customs Agent is a person licensed by Customs to complete Customs documentation and liaise with the Customs authority on the exporter’s behalf as they are familiar with Customs procedures.

The agent is required to enter into a Bond (like a guarantee) with Customs.
46
What does the Customs Agent do?
The Customs Agent will complete the necessary Customs documentation and deal with Customs’ requirements, including attending to the Customs House and dealing with any other formalities. The Agent should have the authority to act on the exporter’s behalf.

The Agent will sign the EX1Form if submitted in hard copy (electronic lodgement will only require the Custom Agent’s pin number), but the exporter will have to sign the Exchange Control License, Form F and the Agent will submit all documentation to Customs for approval.
47
Do I have to pay the Customs Agent?
Yes.

As with any business transaction, payment for the services rendered by the Agent will be required.
48
Do I have to employ an Agent?
Only if necessary, otherwise the exporter can complete all the Customs documents directly deal with Customs. However, exporters need to be mindful that Customs’ rules and procedures can be complicated.

Customs may impose penalties for incorrect declarations. Exporters may also be required to enter into a Bond (guarantee) with Customs.

For new exporters, unless fully conversant with the technicalities of documentation, it could save time, effort and, possibly money to employ an Agent. Therefore, engaging an Agent is not mandatory.
49
Are there any other charges?
Yes. There is a Customs processing fee of $7.00, which must be paid when the export declaration is lodged with Customs. If an Agent is engaged, such fees will be paid by the Agent.

There may also be other processing fees and in some circumstances charges will be levied for the attendance of a Customs Officer depending on the nature of your export business, e.g. if export requires the attendance of such an Officer under drawback or the DSS.
50
What Is Duty Suspension Scheme (DSS)?
The Duty Suspension Scheme (DSS) is one of Government’s incentive schemes introduced on 1st July 2002 to encourage and assist manufacturers and exporters who produce mainly for overseas markets.

The Scheme (DSS) is designed to assist regular exporters import raw materials required for transformation to export production without upfront payment of Import duties and VAT. This allows all Fiji Exporters to implement world priced inputs in their products to improve competitiveness and releases resources (cash), which might otherwise be tied up with duties and taxes to allow the exporters to operate at their maximum potential.
51
Who Can Use The Duty Suspension Scheme?
All manufacturers engaged in an activity that involves the import of raw materials which are substantially transformed into export products are eligible to join DSS.

The activities that will not be considered under the scheme are Agriculture and Mining. This can be further clarified with the Fiji Exports Council (FEC).
52
How Does DSS Work?
Interested organisation may apply to FEC to join the scheme by submitting a formal ‘Application for Membership to DSS’ (Form DSS 6).

FEC will determine the Entitlement Proportion Ratio (EP Ratio) = approved import input ? DSS exports, vets and processes the application before forwarding to the Comptroller of Customs for final approval. Every application submitted will have a list of goods or materials that is intended for importation under the scheme.

Customs will verify the information submitted by FEC that the applicant has concrete intentions to engage in an activity that involves import of raw materials or goods. The substantial transformation of these into products for subsequent re-exportation outside Fiji will determine whether the application is approved or declined.

‘Substantial transformation’ means that imported inputs used for manufacturing or processing will result in a finished product, that is substantially different from the original, resulting in change to the classification of goods in its first four digits of nomenclature. If the application is approved, Customs will issue a DSS licence to the exporter. If disapproved Customs will advise FEC accordingly. FEC will activate the membership on approval and enter the approved exporter’s details into a software program which allows exporter to receive a licence and commence operation as a DSS firm.
 
53
How Can I Get More Information on this Scheme?
Contact the:

Fiji Export Council
32 High Street
Toorak
Suva

Tel: (679) 331 8032/331 6344
Fax: (679) 331 5575

Email: info@fijiexportcouncil.com
Website: www.fijiexportcouncil.com