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The Bahamas is an island country situated in Central America. The country's name comes from the Spanish “baja mar” meaning shallow sea. The Bahamian economy is dependent on trade with the U.S. and most of the tourists that visit the country are from the USA. In addition, 55 % of Bahamian imports come also from the United States. The largest sector in the nation is tourism that accounts for 60 percent of income.
The proximity of the country to major world markets makes it a primary location for the production of items for export. Areas targeted for production for exports comprise agro-products, computers and computer parts, pharmaceuticals, toys, high fashion apparel, data processing goods, etc. It should be noted that there are no controls in The Bahamas exercised over exports. Exported products may be reimported into The Bahamas without payment of customs duty, by providing an appropriate certificate obtained from the Customs Department.
The Bahamas will continue to import a large number of goods to meet consumer demands. This creates great opportunities for international exporters. Top products for export to The Bahamas include data processing equipment, computers and electronic products, hotel and restaurant equipment, auto parts, foodstuff (vegetables and meat products), and baby products.
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The Bahamas is a beautiful, tropical part of the world where people throught the world choose to spend their vacation. The people of Bahamas are friendly and warm with a unique culture. The country is characterized by a strong and stable economy although the part of earnings are built upon the tourist and banking industries. Recently, new hotels, amazing homes and beautiful resorts have been developed in the Bahamas.
The mainimports for this country include mineral fuels, transport equipment and machinery, chemicals, foodstuffs, and live animals.There are also many people who import cars from the United States to this country. The maintrading partners of the Bahamas are the United States, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Venezuela, and Spain respectively.
The Bahamas imports for food productsaccount for $250 million annually, which is close to 80% of all food consumed there. One of the main goals of the Bahamian government is to expand production of agriculture. This reform would lower the amount of Bahamas imports while generating a greater amount of foreign exchange.
Another aspect of Bahamas imports is the services sector. Today, about 110 companies are in operation within the Bahamas that have an affiliation to the US. Of these, the majority are connected in one form or another to banking or tourism. Keep in mind that most of foodstuff consumed in the Bahamas come from the US. Consequently, services and products from the United States are usually favored by the people of the Bahamas in that the culture of both countries is very similar. The same refers to the advertising and marketing efforts.
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Customs requirements of Bahamas
Bahamas Customs Department Contacts
Address: Customs House Thompson Blvd. P.O. Box N-155 Nassau N.P. The Bahamas
Today the Bahamas aims to reduce its dependence on a single sector and to concentrate on foreign trade. The government is actively pursuing a policy of diversification and liberalization. Nevertheless, custom duties remain very high (60% of the national income). There are no significant barriers to trade in the country. In spite of its high custom duties, complex rules and regulations on imports, the country has a liberal trade policy. Thus there are no significant barriers to trade.
The Bahamas is a member of the Caribbean Community. Because it is not a signatory to CARIFTA, it does not apply the Common External Tariff for customs duties purposes. The Bahamas aims to reduce its dependence on customs duty and widen its tax base by introducing a consumption-based Value Added Tax on imported goods and services. Customs duties are applied on the CIF value of imported goods and on average is 33% plus a stamp duty of 2% - 7%. Certain items are imported duty-free. The control of imports is exercised by Customs. All permitted goods may be imported without a licence.
All importers must hold a valid business license issued them by the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Agriculture must issue an import permit for shipments of: live plants and animals, fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry.
The Ministry of Finance issues permits for the importation of: slot machines, trailers and caravans.
The Ministry of Health issues permits for imports of medicine.
The Customs Department issues permits for imports of essential chemicals and precursor chemicals.
The Commissioner of Police issues permits for importations of fireworks, underwater guns, arms and ammunition.