In an effort to stem a rising tide of smuggling across the Colombian and Peruvian borders, Ecuador customs officials have established new rules for items that travelers can bring into the country over land.
International travelers entering Ecuador by land and air will now face a different set of regulations.
Travelers crossing borders by car or bus will no longer enjoy the exemptions on such items as television, cell phones and liquor that will continue to apply to those entering at the international airports in Quito and Guayaquil.
Francisco Hernandez, district director of the National Customs Service of Ecuador (Senae), says that land travelers will now pay taxes on all televisions, cell phones and alcohol they bring into the country. “We are seeing an increase in small-scale smuggling across the borders and the only way we can deal with this effectively is to impose taxes,” he says. Referring to it as “ant smuggling,” Hernandez says that the personal effects of most cross-border travelers will be examined and taxes will be imposed on site if applicable.
“We have discovered that many Ecuadorians are making multiple trips back and forth across borders, bringing in merchandise to sell,” Hernandez says. “This is in violation of the spirit of customs regulations and has forced us to change the rules.”
Travelers entering Ecuador by air will still be allowed to bring televisions up to 21 inches into the country without paying taxes. The old tax-free rule of one new and one used cell phone and three liters of liquor will also remain in effect at airports.
All personal effects covered by customs rules are detailed on the website of the National Customs Service of Ecuador (Senae): www.aduana.gob.ec.
Photo caption: Smugglers blues.