Outline of the system
The Import Licensing System is regulated by the Customs (Management and Control) Act Chapter 15.05 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia. The Ministry of Commerce administers the licensing system in relation to trade in goods.
The lists of products subject to import licensing are contained in Part 2 (Restricted Imports) of Schedule 3, attached to the Customs (Management and Control) Act Chapter 15.05 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia.
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 Saint Lucia Import Licensing Regime was adopted to facilitate the regulation and monitoring of imports. Automatic licenses are used for statistical purposes whereas non-automatic licenses are used for the following purposes:
- National Security; - Public Health Concerns; - Public Safety; - Plant and Animal Health Concerns;
- Development Factors; - Financial Needs; - Moral Issues.
To date, no other regulatory system has been contemplated.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
See answers 6.1-6.11
The system applies to products originating from which country?
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The Import Licensing System is regulated by the Customs (Management and Control) Act Chapter 15.05 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia is the legal instruments for the import licensing regime in Saint Lucia.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Goods such as controlled substances, firearms and ammunition which require non-automatic licences may become subjected to administrative discretion.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
A list of all items which require an import licence may be obtained from Her Majesty's Customs, or from the Ministry of Commerce. The legal instruments were published in the Official Gazette prior to implementation as required by law. Government can, with legislative approval, abolish the system.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
All persons, firms and institutions are eligible to apply for licences.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Ministry of Commerce
Heraldine Rock Building Castries, St.Lucia
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
Ministry of Commerce
What information is required in applications?
A sample of the application form is attached for reference.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
A copy of the relative commercial or proforma invoice is required with each application.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
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?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
There are no conditions attached to the issuance of a licence. Licenses are issued at no cost to the applicant.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
No licensing or administrative fees are charged.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
There is no deposit or advance payment requirement associated with the issuance 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?
All applications are approved automatically except for those that fail to meet the normal criteria.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
Applicants are informed of the reason for refusal.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
Yes applicants have a right of appeal.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Applications may appeal to the Permanent Secretary or directly to the Minister of Commerce. Applicants may seek representation through one of the following:
- St. Lucia Manufacturers Association;
- St. Lucia Small Business Association;
- St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce.
Applicants may also seek redress through the Civil Court, and ultimately through the Caribbean
Court of Justice (CCJ) if the infringement is in contravention of the Revised Treaty of
Chaguaramus, which presents the rules governing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy,
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
In the case of goods originating out of the CARICOM, a Certificate of Origin is required.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
There are no other administrative procedures apart from import licensing required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
A licence is valid for one month from date of issue. The validity may be extended to facilitate the delivery of goods, if required.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of it.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Licences are non-transferable.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Foreign Exchange is automatically provided by the banking authorities to pay for imported goods.
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
There are no domestic restrictions to obtain foreign exchange to settle invoices, whether payable at sight or on other trade terms.
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?
Information regarding quotas and other related formalities is advertised by the Ministry of Commerce in the Local Press and in the Official Gazette.
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?
Quotas (when and where applicable) are determined annually.
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)
Licences are allotted on a non-discriminatory basis, first come first served.
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?
Import Licences are usually for one month duration from date of issue and must be utilized in its entirety. No part may be transferred to other shipments.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
Applications are usually processed within 48 hours.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
Applications are usually presented within 24 hours of arrival of goods, but in several instances it has been observed that applications are presented to the appropriate Ministry after the arrival of the goods into the country.
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?
All applications for trade import licences covered under the External Trade Act are processed by the Ministry of Commerce. However, other applications for import licenses are processed as follows:
- Plants and Animals - Ministry of Agriculture;
- Weapons and Ammunition - Ministry of Internal Security (Police Commissioner);
- Drugs and Public Health - Ministry of Health;
- Motor Vehicles – Ministry of Transport.
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?
Licences are allocated on a first come first served basis. Applications are examined on receipt.
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?
There are no bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements. Export permits are required from country of origin when importing plants and animals into Saint Lucia.
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?
Importers are asked to advise exporters of national requirements.
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?
No licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market.