Ecuador backs down on import fee

Jun 8, 2018

Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo Campana announced Friday that Ecuador is rescinding what it called a “customs control service fee” levied on hundreds of imported products. The move follows a ruling by the Andean Community (CAN) court of justice that the fee constituted an illegal tax on imports.

Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo Campana

The fee, 10 percent on the value of imports, was intended to generate funding to combat smuggling on the Colombian and Peruvian borders.

“As a member in good standing of CAN, Ecuador will comply with the court’s ruling,” Campana said. “Even before the ruling, President (Lenin) Moreno was considering ending the fee and exploring other funding sources to combat smuggling.” He added that the government was aware of the fact that the fee was seen by CAN members as a tax that increased the cost of imports to consumers.

In addition to Ecuador, CAN includes Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

Campana said that he had ordered the National Customs Service of Ecuador (Senae) to suspend the import fee effective immediately.

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Pablo Arosemena, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil CCG), applauded the decision of CAN and expressed gratitude to the Ecuadorian government for “graciously” accepting the decision. “It was clear from the beginning that this fee was a tax and had it remained in effect it could have jeopardized trade agreements not only with CAN but with the European Union and future agreements with the United States,” he said.

Campana said that the government plans to return the fee to importers, which amounts to about $28 million, but said details have yet to be worked out.

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