Outline of the system
The National Plant Protection Office (NPPO) of the Ministry of Agro Industry & Food Security that is mandated under the Plant Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 to protect the biodiversity and agricultural economy of Mauritius, from introduction of destructive exotic pests and diseases.
The NPPO regulates the importation of plants, plant products and other regulated articles through Plants Import Permits (PIPs) under section 19, paragraph (1)(a) of the PPA which makes the provisions that any person who imports or causes the importation of a plant, plant product or other regulated product shall apply for a plant import permit from the NPPO. Currently, PIP's are issued on a consignment basis and a PIP is usually valid for four months for a shorter period in exceptional cases where importation is authorized for emergency situations (unavailability of certain agricultural products).
Moreover, in line with Paragraph 19(4) of the PPA, a PIP is also applicable for certain regulated products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh cut flowers and planting materials that is subjected to landing/shipping activities in our territory through the airport and seaport. The law makes provision for the issuance of PIPs electronically via the TradeNet Portal.
A PIP is required for importation of plants, plant parts and plants products and other regulated articles. These include, but is not restricted to fresh, dried, frozen fruits, vegetables and aromatic herbs, timber, wooden, rattan, bamboo articles, pulses, selected cereals, animal feeds, cotton, furniture, planting materials (seeds, cuttings, young plants), fresh cut flowers, and selected plant-based fertilizers, bio-fertilizers, planting media and second-hand agricultural machinery.
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 PIP is delivered for plant health protection.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The system applies to goods originating in and coming from all countries based on the analysis of phytosanitary risk and import conditions.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The PIP is issued under the Plant Protection Act 2006.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Is it 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?
For electronic application, the applicants must register in the system prior to making an application.
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
All persons, firms and institutions are eligible to apply for PIP.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
National Plants and Protection Office (NPPO), Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security
What information is required in applications?
Name and contact details of importer and exporter, product name (scientific name), HS code, the country of origin, the exporting country, quantity, the approximate shipment date, the purpose of the importation, the means of importation and the mode of transport.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
Additional documents can be uploaded on the Tradenet portal if required by NPPO. The application form is available on website of the NPPO.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Application for PIP is made sufficient time in advance to allow the importer to transmit the Plant Import Permit to the exporter to ensure compliance with the import phytosanitary requirements of the NPPO of Mauritius.
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?
Yes, a Fast Track System exist at NPPO and upon request by importer and with proper justification an application is processed provided all relevant documents are submitted. Minimum time for processing application: five working days. For regular permit and may be extended for new and high-risk products. Imports are allowed immediately upon granting of permits.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
In case of inadvertency, permit may be delivered within shorter time limits. No Goods are allowed without a PIP.
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
For most products mentioned under Number 2 above permit is delivered by NPPO.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
In the case of animal feed (containing plant materials) and fodder the clearance of the Veterinary Services is also required. A Biosecurity Technical Committee is set up to review issues where other agencies are involved. For other commodities recommendations from other Agencies may be required such as NAPRO for tea products, Division of Veterinary Services for animal feed (containing plant materials) and fodder and the Agricultural Marketing Board for controlled products like potatoes, onions and garlic.
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
Conditions of PIP are based on phytosanitary reasons.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
There is no application fee applicable.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
However, an administrative fee of MUR 100 is payable to the Mauritius Network Services Ltd (MNS).
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
No deposit or advance payment is required.
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?
Imports permits are only refused in case commodity to be imported represent phytosanitary threats to the country following a pest risk assessment being conducted.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
Justifications are provided for any refusal.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
Applicants have the right of appeal.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Phytosanitary certificate issued by the exporting country, Bill of lading, the invoice and packing list.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
For the online permit system, importers need to register on the MNS,
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
A PIP is usually valid for four months but can be also issued for a shorter period of time in exceptional cases.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Foreign exchange is automatically provided by banking authorities for goods to be imported (no license is required as a pre-requisite).
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
Foreign exchange is always available for importers through direct application through the bank.