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The major economic sectors of Bonaire are tourism, salt production, oil storage/transportation and services. Tourism plays an important role in the country' economy, as Bonaire has a warm climate and a natural environment suitable for the development of this sector. Bonaire is recognized as being one of the best shore diving destinations in the world. The Lac Bay attracts wind surfers from around the world to Bonaire. Other popular touristic activities are kayaking and snorkeling.
Another significant economic sector is salt production, which is the oldest industry on the island. Ten percent of the country's surface is covered by salt pans, which were transformed into a giant system of ponds and pools to evaporate seawater and produce salt. Today, Bonaire is the only place where salt is commercially produced. Salt produced here is used primarily for industrial purposes rather than for household use. Bonaire produces about produces 400,000 metric tons of salt per year, the commodity being exported to North American, European and Western Pacific markets.
There are some other light industries, such as apparel manufacture and rice processing, practiced on the island.
Bonaire is the world's 181st largest exporter. The island's exports are quite modest, services being the main asset. Other Bonaire's exports include crude petroleum, refined petroleum, salt, orthopedic appliances and electrical control boards. The top export partners of Bonaire are Spain, China, Canada, France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
As it was mentioned above, the economy of Bonaire is based on tourism, real estate development, services, trade and industry. The island's primary economic pillar is tourism, but there are also other sectors which contribute to the island's income. These sectors are agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, construction, trade, real estate and business activities.
Bonaire has an open economy which is largely dependent on external factors, such as tourism, oil transshipment, salt manufacturing and external transfers of development aid and investment capital. The island's government is stimulating the expansion of industrial activities, especially light manufacturing. It is doing so through fiscal incentives and the availability of industrial parcels.
Bonaire is the world's 211th largest importer. Machinery and transport equipment represent 25% of all the imported goods. Food, live animals, beverages and tobacco together represent other 25% of the total imports. Other major imports include spices, beer, furniture, iron structures and glass bricks. The top import partners of Bonaire are the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the UK.
Customs requirements of Bonaire
Bonaire Customs Contacts
Phone: 011 (599) 717-8206, 717-8299
Fax: 011 (599) 717-4632
Bonaire is an island situated in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It is a part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao), located less than a 100 miles off the north coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela. Bonaire is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, although it is not a member of the European Union.
Customs duties are based on the CIF value of the imported products. Dutiable goods are divided into groups as it follows:
- basic goods – 0%, applied on goods such as foodstuffs (chicken, whole milk, cheese) and tourist-related articles (jewelry, perfume, chocolates, audio-video equipment, cameras, computers and accessories)
- general goods – 5.5-13%, applied on boats and boating equipment, clothing, paper, steel and toys
- luxury goods – 17-27%, air conditioners, microwave, ovens
- transportation – 27%, levied on utomobiles and motorcycles
It should be noted that the percentages applied are revised on a periodically. There is also a sales tax of 5%.
Customs clearance of the products is done by the importer or customs broker. After the presentation of the common import documents, the shipment is reviewed and if accepted it is entered into the Customs Department electronic system. Duty taxes are paid directly to the Customs Department.
Goods are not required to be registered or laboratory tested. Product samples shipped via express mail or parcel post are subject only to import regulations, such as import duties. The addressee is responsible for the duty on sample and mail order shipments. Exporters should ensure that the addressee is informed of and agrees to accept the pending shipment to avoid it being returned at the cost of the exporter. Products may be monitored at the retail/wholesale level, but for the most part enforcement is carried out at the port of entry.
Regarding the product certification, exporters should be aware that plant products require a phytosanitary certificate; meat products, as well as other animal products require a health certificate from the country of origin. The Netherlands Antilles tends to follow European standards on food additives.
Documents for import
- commercial invoice
- bill of lading
- phytosanitary or health certificate
- customs declaration