Customs Regulations in Ethiopia

Those who engage in the import and export business in Ethiopia have to know the customs regulation in Ethiopia. We have compiled the existing regulations regarding customs and transit in Ethiopia from the various proclamations, regulations and their amendments on Customs in Ethiopia.  

  1. The Re-establishment and Modernization of Customs Authority Proclamation No. 60/1997 or 60/1989 according to the Ethiopian calendar - EC (Download) and its amendment Proclamation No. 368/2003 or 368/1995 EC (Download)
  2. Goods on FRANCO-VALUTAbasis Council of Ministers: Regulations No. 88/2003 (Download)
  3. A Proclamation To Provide For The Establishment of The Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority: Proclamation No. 587/2008 or 587/2000 EC (Download) 
  4. Customs Proclamation: Proclamation No. 622/2009 or 622/2001EC (Download) 

These documents can be purchased at Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise Shop at Arat Killo.

Highlights of the Proclamation and the amendment:

The highlights of the above mentioned proclamation and amendment are listed below; however, it’s advisable that a reader gets the documents for a comprehensive understanding of the existing proclamations and regulations.

One may visit the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority Website: www.erca.gov.et

Table of Contents

Customs Authority

The Ethiopian Customs Authority (now reorganized as The Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority Proclamation No. 587/2008 or 587/2000 EC) is a Federal Government Organ with its own juridical personality and enforces customs laws. Its head office is in Addis Ababa, located very near to the Addis Ababa Stadium.

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Customs Control

Import and Export

  1. For the implementation of the objectives of customs, the following goods shall be under the supervision and control of customs:
    1. Imported goods from the time they get at Customs port until the completion of customs formalities and received by the importer;
    2. goods under drawback procedure from the time of draw back claim until exportation;
    3. goods, entered into customs warehouse until removed from the warehouse;
    4. goods of export from the time they entered in to customs port until the completion of customs formalities and be exported;
    5. goods in transit, from the time their movement is allowed until the completion of transit procedure;
    6. Goods found with out owner, abandoned, forfeited or contraband goods until they are sold or disposed other wise.
    7. With out prior authorization of customs, no one is allowed to enter into customs warehouse in which goods are deposited or; open or do any acts on those goods controlled and supervised by customs in accordance with sub article (1) of this article.
  2. The Authority shall be responsible for the damage on goods under its control and supervision caused by its employees while discharging their official duties.

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Postal consignment

  1. Goods imported or exported through post office shall not be released without accomplishing customs formalities.
  2. The goods imported or exported through post office shall accomplish customs formalities under the control and supervision of customs officer.

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Prohibited Goods

Any goods the importation, exportation or transit is prohibited by laws or international agreements to which Ethiopia is a party shall be seized and legal action shall be taken in accordance with this Proclamation and other relevant laws.

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Restricted Goods

  1. Goods, the importation or exportation of which is restricted by law, unless they fulfilled specific formalities or conditions, shall be detained in customs port until a decision is passed upon.
  2. Goods detained in accordance with list no. 1 above shall be barred of departing from Ethiopia or shall be re-exported to the country from which it is imported, unless permission is given to it, within 30 days, by the office controlling its importation or exportation.
  3. Where restricted goods are not re-exported with in 30 days from the date of notification it shall be considered as abandoned to the customs.

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Means of Transport

Obligations of the Master of Means of Transport

Any master of the means of transport engaged in the importation or exportation of goods shall:

  1. arrive or depart the means of transport, load or unload goods, embark or disembark passengers only at customs port;
  2. not withstanding the provisions of list no. 1 above, incase of force major, he may land or stop the means of transport in any place other than a customs port; provided, however, the master of the means of transport shall immediately report the incident to the nearest customs and administration office of the region;
  3. submit documents, to the appropriate customs officer, to the effect that the means of transport is duly licensed to transport cargo's or passengers;
  4. Submit a manifest that show the list of goods loaded, discharged, stay on board or continue in transit, and a manifest that shows the name of persons to be embarked, disembarked, stay on board or continue in transit to a proper customs officer within 24 hours after the arrival or before departure of the means of transport;
  5. refrain form embarking or disembarking passengers; or loading or unloading goods unless authorized by the Authority and in the absence of Customs officer;
  6. never allow any unauthorized person to reach about or enter into the means of transport;
  7. report to the customs and discharge the cargo for customs control, where the time for departure of the means of transport is cancelled or delayed for more than 24 hours, after it is authorized to move;
  8. Not attach, connect or prepare any additional room, which serves as a hiding place for contraband goods, on the external or internal part of the means of transport.

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Goods Declaration

  1. The master of the means of transport shall provide information regarding the loaded goods, identifying its purpose either for home consumption, warehousing, temporary admission, transiting or Transshipment and deliver it to customs warehouse or shall accomplish the necessary transit customs formalities.
  2. The warehouse operator on receiving the goods shall identify and register the goods based on the information supplied in accordance with list no. 1 above.
  3. Goods without declaration shall be presumed to have been imported for home consumption and therefore, enter into a register accordingly.
  4. Goods requiring passing quarantine examination shall, as soon as they are discharged from the means of transport, be stored in a separate zone until the accomplishment of quarantine examination.
  5. Inflammable or dangerous goods shall be notified by the master of the means of transport before they are discharged so that the goods be stored in a separate warehouse or be removed urgently form the port.
  6. Where incomplete or erroneous goods declaration is presented to customs and if ascertained that it is due to inadvertent error, amendment shall be allowed by furnishing supplementary report.

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Goods for Consumption and for sale on Board

  1. The following goods shall enter into the means of transport without duty and taxes. Where the customs officers are satisfied that the goods are intended for consumption or sale on board during the voyage;
    1. fuel, lubricants, spare parts and other goods necessary from the operation of the means of transport;
    2. food staff, drinks, and articles for gift and sales to passengers and employees on board of the means of transport;
  2. The master of the means of transport who received the goods specified in list no. 1 above shall present a declaration to the customs officer, about the goods consumed, sold, disposed and remained on board upon return to the initial loading customs port.
  3. Goods not declared by the master of the means of transport shall be deemed consumed locally and be subject to the duties and taxes left unpaid.

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Goods in Transit

Condition for the Movement of Goods in transit

Any goods in transit shall:

  1. accomplish transit formalities at the customs port of departure before the commencement of transit operation. The details shall be specified in directives issued by the Authority;
  2. start the operation under the cover of guarantee prescribed by the Authority;
  3. move only by a clearing agent licensed by the Authority.

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Arrival of Transit Goods

  1. All transit goods shall arrive at the port of customs destination in the condition prescribed and within the period specified by the customs.
  2. Customs Clearing Agent shall report forth with to the customs destination offices, the arrival of the goods in accordance with list no. 1 above.

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Customs Port and Transit Routes

  1. Goods in Transit shall be imported in prescribed customs ports and be transported through allowed transit routes.
  2. Customs ports and transit routes shall be determined by the Board and prescribed in public notice issued by the Board.

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Temporary Import of Goods

  1. Goods necessary for trade promotion, technology transfer, tourism and cultural exchange, development works and consultancy service may temporarily be imported without payment of duties and taxes subject to be re-exported on the completion of its objectives.
  2. A person who imports goods temporarily, without payment of duties and taxes shall submit security equivalent to the duties and taxes in accordance with the provisions of chapter 7 of the Proclamation.
  3. It is prohibited to use goods imported on temporary basis other than the purposes for which they are imported or to use out of the localities where the activities are carried out.

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Temporary Import: time Limit

  1. Temporarily imported goods shall be re-exported within six months or within the time specified in the project agreement or in agreement entered with the Government.
  2. The Authority may extend the time limit for a period of not more than one month where the importer proves on acceptable ground that the goods imported temporarily cannot be re-exported within the time specified in list no. 1 above.
  3. Goods for trade promotion, technology transfer, tourism and cultural exchange may, upon request, be sold or remain within the country upon payment of taxes and duties based on their value at the time of request, where the request is made within the period prescribed for their stay and authorized by appropriate offices to remain in the country.
  4. Goods for development work and consultancy services may remain within the country upon payment of taxes and duties based on their value at the time when the goods are imported; where it is requested within the period prescribed and authorised by appropriate offices to remain in the country.
  5. Where temporarily imported goods, are destroyed or irrecoverably lost by force major and where it is proved with sufficient evidence, the goods may remain in the country upon payment of duties and taxes based on the value of goods less the amount of damage.

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Temporary Export of Goods

  1. Goods exported temporarily by accomplishing customs formalities may be allowed to re-enter into the country without payment of duties and taxes, on the following conditions;
    1. imported goods sent abroad for repair and maintenance without repayment of duties and taxes;
    2. temporarily imported goods sent abroad for repair and maintenance without cancellation of the guarantee given at the time of their importation;
    3. personal effects, automobiles for personal use, machinery and other equipment necessary for his work abroad;
    4. Goods exported for trade fair, exhibition or cultural show.
  2. Goods returning pursuant to sub-Article (1)(a) and (b) of this Article shall be subject to duties and taxes on the cost of maintenance and repair incurred abroad.
  3. Goods may be eligible for exemption form duties only if returned form abroad within six months, unless a greater period is specified in the agreement approved by the government.

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Exchange Rates

Selling Buying
USD US 23.1903  22.7356 
GBP UK 29.236  28.6537 
EUR EU 25.2542  24.75 
CHF CHE 23.5722  23.1006 
CAD CA 17.3723  17.0266 
AED UAE 6.3146  6.1896