Update on Latin American Actions to Address COVID-19 Pandemic
26 March 2020
Latin American countries have taken a number of trade-related actions in recent days and weeks in an effort to respond as effectively as possible to the COVID-19 pandemic. Major actions taken by Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru as of 24 March are summarised below. It appears that Mexico had not taken any major COVID-19-related trade actions as of that date.
Argentina . Certain antidumping duty orders on medical equipment/products have been suspended, including: (1) the AD duty order on disposable and sterile hypodermic plastic syringes, with or without needles, of a volume ranging from one cubic centimetre to 60 cc, classified under NCM 9018.31.11 and 9018.31.19, from mainland China; and (2) the AD duty order on certain parenteral solutions containing sodium chloride or dextrose classified under NCM 3004.90.99 from Brazil and Mexico. The suspensions will remain in effect for the duration of the state of public emergency stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chile . Various measures have been taken to facilitate and accelerate the customs clearance process, per Exempt Resolution 1179/2020.
Colombia . Duty-free treatment is being provided for a period of six months from 13 March 2020 to various products classified under 110 tariff lines. This includes 18 tariff lines comprising health products as well as 92 tariff lines comprising raw materials and capital goods not produced domestically for air transport companies operating in and from Colombia. Subsequently, a supplementary regulation was issued to provide duty-free treatment also for a six-month period to an additional 53 tariff lines, comprising medicines, medical equipment, non-textile gloves and protective clothing, etc.
The National Tax and Customs Directorate (DIAN) is providing preferential treatment in the customs clearance process to imports of perishable goods and medical inputs classified under the following tariff lines: 2804.40.0000, 3005.90.3900, 3401.11.0000, 3401.20.0000, 3401.30.0000, 3402.90.9900, 3926.90.7000, 3926.20.0000, 4015.11.0000, 4015.19.1000, 4015.19.9000, 5603.12.9000, 6210.10.0000, 6307.90.3000, 9018.39.0000, 9018.90.9000, 9019.20.0000, 9021.90.0000 and 9402.90.9000. Imports by authorised economic operators are also being prioritised over any other imports, except imports of any of the previously mentioned perishable goods and medical inputs. Other actions include carrying out non-intrusive inspections whenever possible and the streamlining of certain other customs clearance procedures.
DIAN is also suspending from 19 March through 3 April 2020 the timeframes of all administrative processes and actions related to tax, customs and foreign exchange matters. Additionally, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism is suspending the procedural timeframes of all trade remedy proceedings until 30 April 2020, and is providing certain flexibilities to free zone operators.
On the other hand, the exportation and re-exportation of goods classified under the following 24 tariff lines has been banned for a six-month period: 2207.10.0000, 3004.90.2900, 3401.19.9000, 3808.94.1900, 3926.20.0000, 3926.90.7000, 4015.11.0000, 4015.19.1000, 4015.19.9000, 4015.90.1000, 4015.90.9000, 4803.00.9000, 4818.10.0000, 4818.20.0000, 6307.90.3000, 9018.11.0000, 9018.19.0000, 9018.90.1000, 9019.20.0010, 9019.20.0090, 9020.00.0000, 9022.14.0000, 9022.90.0000 and 9402.90.9000. These tariff lines include, among other products, antibacterial gel, toilet paper, soap, alcohol, face masks and medical gloves.
Peru . Duty-free treatment is being provided to a range of products classified within 65 subheadings to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including, among others, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, ammonia in aqueous solution, first-aid kits, plastic syringes, and tubular metal needles and needles for sutures. It is worth noting that Peru already provides duty-free treatment on an MFN basis to a range of medical products.
Additionally, Peru’s National Customs and Tax Administration Superintendence (SUNAT) is exercising special discretionary authority by not assessing penalties for certain customs and tax violations. At the same time, SUNAT is providing certain flexibilities to entities with outstanding tax debts.
- Medical Supplies & Medicine
- Garments, Textiles & Accessories
- Furniture & Furnishings
- Central & South America