Outline of the system
Such licences are granted only to properly established legal persons.
Importation into Cuba of the substances listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and those regulated by the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, 1998, to which Cuba is party, is subject to an import licensing system which ensures that these substances are used for purposes not prohibited by the CWC or the Rotterdam Convention. Such licences are granted only to properly established legal persons.
Parties that are interested in importing any of the substances listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the CWC or those restricted under the Rotterdam Convention must apply for an import licence. Applications must indicate the following: chemical name of the substance, quantity, Schedule to which the substance belongs, name of director of the entity, owner, legal domicile, import licence number (as certified by the certificate of registration with the National Register of Exporters and Importers of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba), commercial invoice, name and address of the exporter, country of origin and country of provenance.
Licences are valid for only one import transaction.
The import and industrial use of crocidolite (blue asbestos), polychlorinated terphenyls (Resolution No. 96/2004), pentachlorophenol (Resolution No. 96/2004) and ethylene dichloride (Resolution No. 96/2004) are prohibited. The industrial use in textile production of polybrominated biphenyls (only polybrominated) and tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (Res. 96/2004) is prohibited. The use of polybrominated biphenyls and tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate for purposes other than textile production is subject to licensing (by ORSA, Resolution No. 96/2004). The industrial use of ethylene oxide for sterilization purposes (Resolution No. 96/2004) in the national health system and procedures ensuring its operation is restricted. The import and domestic marketing of polychlorinated biphenyls (askarels) and electrical equipment containing more than 50 ppm PCBs is prohibited (Resolution No. 96/2004), as is the importation of anthophyllite, tremolite, actinolite and amosite (Resolution No. 96/2004).
Any natural or legal person, whether a Cuban national or a foreigner, that possesses in whatever quantity or form any of the pesticides that are prohibited under the first clause of this Resolution shall immediately notify the Director of the municipal hygiene and epidemiology centre or unit in the territory concerned, who shall send a state health inspector within a period of 24 hours from receipt of the notification to guarantee compliance with the current legislation governing pesticides. (Resolution No.268/1990)
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The procedure is designed to limit the volume of imports and reflects the country's determination to support all actions aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and hence at destroying those in existence in any part of the world, in the light of the disastrous consequences of the use of CWC controlled substances for humankind and the future of our planet. As to the substances covered by the Rotterdam Convention, it is considered of the utmost importance, in view of the relevance of this instrument and the growing risks and hazards posed by increased production and trade in chemical substances, to prohibit the use of certain toxic chemicals and to expand the scope of the Convention to other products of this nature, thus preventing the introduction into Cuba of unwanted chemicals.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
See Answers 6.1-6.11
There are no quantitative limits on the importation of CWC Schedule 2 and 3 substances and products containing such substances in the percentages set forth in the CWC, if they are used for non-prohibited purposes.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
This procedure applies to goods from any country in the world.
All 192 States Parties to the CWC may market the controlled substances of Schedules 1 and 2 (according to Article V, paragraph 1 of the Convention, "[e]ach State Party has the right, subject to the provisions of this Convention, to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, retain, transfer and use toxic chemicals and their precursors for purposes not prohibited under this Convention"). Any State Party and State not party to the CWC may market Schedule 3 substances, provided that the latter issues a certificate stating the final destination of the substances (according to Article VI, Part VIII C).
The purpose of the system is to ensure that Schedule 1, 2 and 3 substances, and products containing such substances in the percentages established, are imported only for purposes not prohibited under the CWC. The procedure limits the quantity of Schedule 1 substances in the country at any given time, which cannot exceed one tonne, and ensures that transfers of Schedule 1 and 2 substances and the products containing them take place only between States Parties. With regard to Schedule 3 substances, if they are transferred to a State not party to the CWC, that State must issue a certificate stating their end use and confirming that they are to be used for non-prohibited purposes.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
Decree-Law No. 202 on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and the Destruction Thereof of 24 December 1999 refers in Chapter III, entitled "Licences and Permits", to the general rules concerning the procedure for the granting of licences and permits for activities involving the chemical substances listed in the CWC.
Resolution No. 32/2005 implements the supplementary regulations to Decree-Law No. 202 entitled: "Regulations for the Implementation of the National System for the Control of the Chemical Substances Listed in the CWC, the Granting of Licences and Permits, and Information Processing", Chapter III of which, including the first and second sections thereof, is devoted to explaining the procedures for the granting and refusal of licences, appeals, the responsibilities of the competent authority, and the time frames and deadlines for processing the licences and permits to be obtained by entities conducting activities involving the substances listed in the CWC.
Resolution No. 159/1995 and Resolution No. 96/2004 provide for the domestic implementation of activities relating to the Rotterdam Convention and prohibit or restrict the importation and industrial use of various chemicals.
Under the above-mentioned legal instruments, licensing is compulsory for activities involving the use of substances listed therein.
The controlled substances are listed in the Annexes to these instruments. The Council of State (the legislature) has made licensing a statutory requirement and empowers the CITMA (the executive) to establish the terms and conditions for each system.
The granting of licences is statutorily required.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
The legislation does not leave the designation of products subject to licensing to administrative discretion.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
It is not possible for the Government to abolish the system without legislative approval.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
The importation and exportation of the substances in question must be authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Trade by means of a resolution defining the substance type or group. Any legal person intending to import or export must be registered in the National Register for Exporters and Importers of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba.
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
What information is required in applications?
An application form for authorization to import chemical substances listed in the CWC.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
The importer must submit the following documents with the application:
- photocopies of the decision appointing the director of the entity and the entity's charter;
- photocopy of the certificate of registration with the National Register of Exporters and Importers of the Chamber of Commerce;
- photocopy of the commercial invoice.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
The specific technical authorizations to carry out import operations must be granted by a competent authority and be obtained prior to the signing of the relevant contract. Where this is not possible, they must always be obtained before the start of the commercial operation (defined as the date of shipment of the goods), according to the level of risk and nature of each individual case. In exceptional circumstances, the Director of ORSA may authorize the granting of a licence even when the application has not been submitted within the established time frame.
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Import licences cannot be granted immediately. They are issued for only one substance, one import transaction, and when the importer presents the commercial invoice.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Except as the Director of the ORSA may authorize the granting of a license, even if the application was not filed within the time limit set.
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
ORSA is the competent administrative body.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
In cases where another type of authorization is required for the importation, manufacture or other uses of chemical substances, the processing and granting of licences will be contingent upon the authorization issued by that body.
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
No conditions are attached to the issue of a licence other than the requirements set forth in current legislation.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Each import licence costs CUP 3,320.
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Licence applications may be refused on the grounds of failure to meet the above criteria or other criteria set forth in current legislation.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
The reasons for refusal are set forth in a licence refusal letter, in accordance with the "Procedure for Processing Applications for ORSA Authorization".
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
Applicants have the right to appeal to the Director of ORSA within 30 working days of the date on which they receive the communication notifying them of the refusal.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Should the appeal be turned down by the Director of ORSA, an application for a Special Review Procedure may be made within 180 days of that decision to the Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment if there is evidence of a blatant flaw in the taking of the decision or if there is information that the authority that refused authorization did not have or was not aware of at the time. A ruling must be issued within 30 working days of the receipt of the review application.
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Other documents required by the Customs General of the Republic include the importer's licence to import chemical substances listed in the CWC.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
No other procedures are required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
Import licences are valid for only one import or export transaction. They cannot be extended.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
Yes. Entities which conduct activities involving CWC substances without the relevant authorization are committing an administrative offence sanctioned by Agreement No. 5517, adopted by the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers on 26 August 2005, without prejudice to any civil and criminal liability incurred.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Import licences are not transferable between importers.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
This information is not published. The quantity allocated to the country is one tonne. Parties that are interested in importing any of the substances listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the CWC or those restricted under the Rotterdam Convention apply for an import licence from ORSA. Licences are valid for only one import transaction.
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
The legislation does not provide for quotas to ensure that the quantity of a CWC Schedule 1 substance in the country does not exceed one tonne at any given time. This is instead controlled through licence applications for any activity involving these substances, including importation. In the event of a risk of the above quantity being exceeded, licence applications, whether or not relating to importation, are rejected in accordance with the established procedure. No activities have been conducted in the country using Schedule 1 substances.
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
The deadline for the submission of applications is 60 days prior to the start of the activity (importation/exportation).
This deadline does not apply to applications for the importation or exportation of saxitoxin in quantities of 5 mg or less. In these cases a licence may be requested up until the time of entry into or departure from the country, provided that the transfer is for medical or diagnostic purposes.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
The processing period for applications is 30 days, though it is shorter for both imports and exports when ORSA receives the commercial invoice.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
Licences are issued for the date of importation indicated on the commercial invoice.
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
ORSA is the competent administrative body. In cases where another type of authorization is required for the importation, manufacture or other uses of chemical substances, the processing and granting of licences will be contingent upon the authorization issued by that body.
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
On a first-come, first-served basis.
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?