27 April 2018
Colombia Steps Up Oversight of Imports Subject to Trade Remedy Actions, Steel/Aluminium Shipments
Effective from 26 April, Colombian importers will be required to submit together with the customs declaration an original copy of a non-preferential certificate of origin for goods subject to antidumping, safeguard or other trade remedy measures. According to Decree 637/2018, the country of origin of a product for non-preferential origin purposes is the last country where the product underwent a substantial transformation that conferred the product its essential character. Such a transformation would normally require a change in tariff classification from a different chapter, heading or subheading, although Colombian authorities may take into consideration other criteria such as the need to perform certain specific operations in the country of origin, use certain inputs that are produced in the country of origin, or comply with a maximum value threshold for non-originating materials.
In related news, Colombian authorities announced on 16 April a set of new measures to combat contraband activities in steel and aluminium. They include weekly monitoring of import trends in 72 different tariff lines comprising steel, aluminium and scrap products; requiring importers of products in these tariff lines to make advance declarations; stepping up physical inspections of subject merchandise; increasing verifications of compliance with technical requirements; investigating 45 companies that may be engaging in contraband activities; and seizing illegally imported merchandise.
Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism María Lorena Gutiérrez also indicated that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested at a recent meeting that Colombia become a strategic partner of the United States in combatting illegal practices in the steel and aluminium trade. In response, Minister Gutiérrez has explained the actions her government has taken to prevent the transhipment of mainland Chinese steel and aluminium products through Colombia.
In other trade news of potential interest, the Colombian government recently provided duty-free treatment to a broad range of inputs used in ship production. The measure, which covers inputs classified in 395 different tariff lines, is aimed at enhancing the productivity and optimising the resources of the shipbuilding sector, which would also help shore up demand for products made by domestic manufacturers of metal, plastic, glass, chemical and other products. The government estimates that this measure will generate some 400,000 million pesos (about US$147 million) in annual duty savings, enabling domestic shipbuilders to make more and better ocean and river boats.