Aruba has a very small and open economy with limited manufacturing. The island trades with partners for a broad spectrum of merchandise. Imports increase gradually. Besides the major trading partners such as the USA, the Netherlands and Venezuela, trade is performed with countries globally.
Customs clearance is done by the importer or receiving agent who must be registered with Chamber of Commerce in order to do business in Aruba.
Import documentation such as invoices and the bill of lading may be in English. However, the Customs declaration, which is normally handled by the importer’s receiving agent, must always be in Dutch (the official language in Aruba).
After arrival at the port and shipments are approved (unopened), they are forwarded to the importer. Customs officers inspect the shipments on the premises where further documentation is presented. Duty is paid directly to the Department of Customs.
The length of time for the entire customs clearance procedure can vary widely. Perishable goods have priority and usually are cleared within one day. Dry goods can be cleared within 2-3 days.
IMPORT OF FOOD PRODUCTS
Although food legislation is currently under development, Aruba has no food-specific laws at present. However, the Department of Public Health does have Merchandise Regulations related to food products in the context of protecting public health and setting conditions for fair trade. Article 2 of these Merchandise Regulations, which covers food safety issues in broad strokes, prohibits the preparation, sale, storage, transport, and distribution of food products which are unfit for human consumption.
Entities that receive, store and sell imported products must be registered with the Chamber of Commerce, membership in which is a government regulation. The National Decree on Import License Commodities requires that importers obtain an import license from the Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry for the following agricultural products: rice, tea, coffee, milk (powder and liquid), cooking oil, margarine, sugar, corn flour, potatoes, legumes (peas, beans, etc.), vegetables (fresh & preserved), peanut butter, chicken eggs, meat (preserved, salted, dried, etc.), beef, chicken meat, fish (fresh/preserved).
The only restriction that exists for imported food products pertains to chicken eggs. However, as domestic supply is insufficient to cover demand this restriction is normally waived. Health authorities require that first-time shipments of perishables (i.e. seafood, produce, etc.) be accompanied by a sanitary certificate from the country of origin, after which the requirement is waived as long as the subsequent shipments are from the same supplier.
All imported meats must comply with USDA sanitary regulations. Any meat products from countries other than the United States that can pass USDA inspection are accepted in Aruba. The Aruba Veterinary Service requires a duly signed original USDA meat and poultry export certificate of wholesomeness for every shipment. The Veterinary Service performs random inspections.
LABELING AND PACKAGING REQUIREMENTS
Aruba has no labeling regulations. All the international labels are accepted. No additional information is required.
Aruba is a party to international agreements and treaties for the protection intellectual property, such as the Paris Convention, Nice Agreement, and the Vienna Agreement. Established in 1987, the Bureau of Intellectual Property of Aruba implements the Aruba Trademark Act and is responsible for registering trademarks. Trademark registration is a rather simple procedure and is normally carried out by an agent authorized by the Bureau. Registration is for a 10 year period and is renewable for indeterminate periods of 10 years. Exclusive rights of use of a trademark are obtained through first use. Registration also gives exclusive rights of use but under current law it does not necessarily signify first use. Therefore, the Bureau is developing new legislation which will grant acquisition of exclusive rights of use through registration only. In other words, international suppliers will need to register their trademarks to ensure exclusive rights.
Items like medicines, narcotics, chemicals, explosives and pyrotechnics are subject to licensing controls. Pharmaceuticals must be registered with the Inspectorate of Health and Environment (Inspectie Volksgezondheid en Milieu) in order to be imported into the Aruban market or into the free zones.
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Tel: 011 (297) 582-1800, 588-9147
Fax: 011 (297) 583-4367