The Belize Bureau of Standards is the only organization that develops and implements standards in Belize. This organization engages in developing its unique standards, as well as developing and implementing regional and multilateral standards.
The Bureau is responsible for monitoring and enforcing labeling requirements, packaging requirements, metrology, and consumer protection.
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) is the statutory body responsible for certification mechanisms regarding plants, animals, quarantine, and inspection.
In collaboration with BAHA, the Belize Bureau of Standards requires product certification and certificates of origin for certain imported products, mainly foodstuffs such as meats.
Every importer or exporter has to know that not all the products require certification for import and export. However, products that have the ability to transmit plant, animal, and human diseases are subject to inspection and risk analysis prior to certification. This includes food items, agricultural produce, plants, meats, and livestock. Find more information here: http://www.baha.bz/
Two copies of the freight invoices in English are required. No specific form is required, but all invoices must contain the names of the exporter and consignee, number and types of packages, marks and numbers on the packages, net and gross weights, CIF value, terms of sale, and a thorough description of the merchandise. Note that the importer will usually need a signed duplicate invoice to speed the release of the imported goods from customs. This should be sent via air courier and arrive in Belize prior to the arrival of the merchandise.
Certificate of Origin
Every importer or exporter has to prove the origin of the products buy preparing a Certificate of Origin. Two certified copies are required.
A packing list is not legally required, but such lists are usually considered essential in accelerating the time required for customs clearance.
Bill of Lading (Air Waybill)
There are no regulations specifying content of a bill of lading. Importers should include clear marks of identification and the name and address of the consignee of the goods. Shipping marks on the goods must correspond exactly to numbers on bills of lading/invoices.
Persons wishing to import goods are required to attach six copies of this invoice to the application for an import license and/or the intent to import. A pro-forma invoice may also be required when presenting an application to Belize authorities to ship bonded goods through the country.
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) is a statutory body governed by the Ministry of Agriculture and is responsible for issuing sanitary and phyto-sanitary certificates for exports. Import permits from the BAHA are required for certain foodstuffs, live animals, plant and plant materials, and veterinary vaccines. BAHA also requires phyto-sanitary and zoo-sanitary certificates, health-risk analysis documentation, and certificates of origin for animals and certain plant materials.
Labeling requirements must be fulfilled in English and details are to include:
- product name;
- manufacturer’s name and address;
- country of origin;
- storage instructions;
- net weight/volume;
- list of contents;
- nutritional information;
- date of production;
- expiration date;
- identification lot.
The website http://www.bbs.gov.bz contains legislation and documents describing the nature of information and specifications required for products to be labeled, packaged, and sold legally in the marketplace. It should be noted that enforcement of packaging standards is lax and many grocery stores package goods, particularly dry goods, using their own packaging which is much cheaper and does not contain the required labeling.
Tariffs and collection of Customs Duties and Taxes are administered by the Belize Customs and Excise Department. This Department accounts for approximately 50 percent of the Government’s total annual recurrent revenue.
- food items and medicines – rate of duty is 0;
- automobile - rate of duty is 40;
- fresh peppers, pepper sauces, live animals – rate of duty is 40;
- boats – rate of duty is 40;
- industrial products - rate of duty is 20.
Some goods are restricted for import into Belize based on a licensing and permit regime. The tariff applied to products originating from CARICOM member states may be different from the tariff applied to products originating from other countries. Likewise, there may also be quantity restrictions on certain products.
The restricted products are the following:
- peanut butter;
- wheat flour;
- peppers and pepper sauces;
- carbonated beverages;
- products made of wood;
- pharmaceutical medicines;
- beans and rice.
Belize Bureau of Standards
Ministry of Works Compound
Power Lane, Belmopan City, Belize