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WHY THE MAURITIUS FREEPORT?
A liberal & attractive package of incentives
Preferential access to markets
Modern & Integrated logistics facilities
Value-added logistics services
 FAQs
 
1 . What do I need to do to operate in the Mauritius Freeport
2 . How do I apply for a Freeport Certificate to operate in the Mauritius Freeport?
3 . Who is a Third Party Freeport Developer and how do I contact them?
4 . What is the difference between a Private Freeport Developer and a Third Party Freeport Developer?
5 . How do I start trading in the Freeport?
6 . Are their restrictions on goods that can be imported in a Freeport Zone?
7 . Are there special arrangements required for the warehousing or storage of goods in a Freeport Zone?
8 . How do I enter goods in a Freeport zone?
9 . How much does the submission and processing of an Electronic declaration costs?
10 . Can I source goods from Mauritius for re-export through the Freeport?
11 . What are the restrictions on goods that can be sourced from Mauritius for re-export?
12 . Can I benefit from duty drawback on goods sourced from the Local market and on which duties and taxes have been paid?
13 . How do I remove goods from the Freeport for re-export?
14 . Is custom supervision required for the re-export of goods?
15 . Can I sell goods onto the local customs territory?
16 . What is a Foreign company?
17 . Do I need to pay duties and taxes on goods removed from the Freeport for consumption in Mauritius?
18 . As a Freeport Licensee, can I remove goods on my Freeport Company’s name for retail sale onto the local market?
19 . Can I remove samples from the Freeport for marketing or analysis purposes?
20 . Are there restrictions on goods that can be sold onto the local market by a Freeport Licencee?
21 . What are the criteria that, as a Freeport operator, I must meet to benefit from preferential port handling charges and how do I apply for it?
22 . What are the legal obligations of Freeport Licensees?
23 . Can I benefit from duty and tax exemptions on goods imported for my personal use and what is the procedure to benefit from duty and tax exemptions?
24 . As a Freeport Licensee, I am entitled to supplies made to me by a supplier from Mauritius with VAT at zero rate. What is the procedure to benefit from VAT at zero rate on supplies?

1 . What do I need to do to operate in the Mauritius Freeport

To operate and conduct business activities in the Mauritius Freeport, you must first apply for a Freeport certificate from the Board of Investment.  The licence fee payable to the Comptroller of Customs in order to operate as a Freeport operator is Rs 10,000. Detailed information on fees for licence fees is also available in the Third Schedule of the Freeport Act 2004. To apply for a Freeport licence, the applicant must first be registered as a company or branch, with the Registrar of Companies in Mauritius.

2 . How do I apply for a Freeport Certificate to operate in the Mauritius Freeport?

Applications for a freeport certificate, certificate as an occasional operator or for a storage permit by local companies must be submitted to BOI online system, available on the newly launched e-regulations platform: www.eregulations.mu

 

3 . Who is a Third Party Freeport Developer and how do I contact them?

A Third-party Freeport Developer is a Freeport licensee who builds, develops and manages warehouses and logistics facilities in a Freeport zone to be rented to Freeport operators. There are presently five main third-party Freeport Developers namely Mauritius Freeport Development Ltd (MFD), Freeport Operations (Mauritius) Ltd (FOM), Froid Des Mascareignes (FDM), BPML-Freeport Services Ltd, Mauritius Jinfei Economic Trade and Coorporation, Mauri-China Freezone Development Ltd and Mauritius Freezone Logistics Ltd (MFL). More information is available on the following link: http://www.efreeport.com/default.aspx?Guid=1d9431f4-068d-4af7-b5e6-3708cb0cf40e&nm=ENV . 

4 . What is the difference between a Private Freeport Developer and a Third Party Freeport Developer?

A private Freeport Developers (PFD) is a Freeport licensee issued with a licence by the Authority to build, develop and manage specialised facilities in a Freeport zone for the PFD’s exclusive use and to conduct its own business and trade operations. An application for a PFD is usually considered when a Freeport activity cannot be accommodated in a Third Party Developer’s zone.

5 . How do I start trading in the Freeport?

To conduct trade activities in the Mauritius Freeport, you must first be registered with the Income Tax and Customs Departments.

6 . Are their restrictions on goods that can be imported in a Freeport Zone?

As a Freeport licensee, you are authorized to import goods that can legally be entered in Mauritius. Certain products, such as agricultural products, horticultural products and plants require authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture- Plant Pathology Division prior to their entry into a Freeport Zone. A phyto-sanitary certificate is usually required before such goods are allowed entry in the Freeport Zone. More information is available at the Plant Pathology Division and Quarantine Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Technology and Natural Division. The web site of the Ministry at the following address- http://ncb.intnet.mu/moa/plant.htm can also be consulted for specific information relating to import of agricultural products.

7 . Are there special arrangements required for the warehousing or storage of goods in a Freeport Zone?

Goods classified as dangerous, hazardous or perishable, require special storage facilities or must be stored in temperature controlled areas. The Third Party Developer can advise you on the special storage requirements for the warehousing of such goods.

8 . How do I enter goods in a Freeport zone?

To enter goods in a Freeport zone, an electronic Customs Declaration must be processed. The Freeport Act 2004 specifies that the entry or removal of goods in a Freeport Zone must be made through the TradeNet System. A TradeNet User Manual has been written specifically to provide you with full details on how to process an electronic Freeport Declaration. You are advised to consult this manual for full details of relevant procedures required for submission of electronic declarations through the TradeNet system. If you are not well conversant with local customs formalities, you are requested to seek the expert services of the Third Party Freeport Developer where you intend to conduct your business operations or a Freight Forwarding company operating in Mauritius. Third Party Freeport Developers and freight forwarding companies, established in Mauritius, offer a full fledge door-to-door service to Freeport Operators. A number of freight forwarding companies have offices in Third party Developer zones and are fully conversant with Freeport operating procedures.

9 . How much does the submission and processing of an Electronic declaration costs?

The submission of an electronic declaration requires a software licence from the Mauritius Network Services which costs Rs 40,000 for a 5 user licence. Service charges for submission of electronic declarations are as follows: Subscription per account (1 mailbox) Rs 100/month Subscription for additional mailbox Rs 50/month Receipt/Delivery Notification Rs 1 per notification EDI Transmission charges (local) Rs 3/KB Service charges Rs 140 per Import BOE/11 items Rs 70 per export BOE/11 items Rs 50 per post entry If you seek the services of a Freight Forwarding Company, the average cost for submission and processing of electronic Freeport declarations varies from Rs 500 to Rs 800. Third Party Freeport Developers can offer clearance services and processing of electronic declaration as part of a total logistics service package.

10 . Can I source goods from Mauritius for re-export through the Freeport?

As a Freeport licensee, you are authorized to source goods from the local market meant for re-export via the Freeport. For customs purposes, goods sourced from the local market are treated as imports into the Freeport. An export customs declaration must be submitted by the supplier selling goods to the Freeport Company with a corresponding import declaration made by the Freeport licensee. Specific customs procedure codes are available for transactions made by the local supplier to the Freeport Company. 

11 . What are the restrictions on goods that can be sourced from Mauritius for re-export?

No restriction is imposed on the quantity or type of goods that can be sourced from the local market. However, a number of commodities require special permits and authorisations when exported and re-exported from Mauritius. Permits are required when goods of strategic importance or sensitive to the economy such as wheat, flour, spices, products containing sugar, or goods whose market access is regulated, are exported or re-exported. The list of commodities requiring export permits when re-exported is available on the web site of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry at http://www.mcci.org/it_exports.htm. You should ensure that prior to shipment of goods necessitating special permits, all necessary authorizations from the competent authorities are obtained. Permits for export are issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Co-operatives. Depending on commodities exported, authorisation is also required from other government organisations e.g. The Mauritius Sugar Syndicate for sugar The Tea Board for tea The Agricultural Marketing Board for spices The Ministry of Health for pharmaceuticals The Ministry of Agriculture for listed agricultural products

12 . Can I benefit from duty drawback on goods sourced from the Local market and on which duties and taxes have been paid?

A Duty Drawback refund mechanism is in place at the Export Section of Customs for all duty paid goods sourced from the local market and meant for export via the Freeport. Application for duty drawback must be made to the Customs and Excise Department by the local supplier effecting the sales transaction to the Freeport licensee. The local supplier must contact ( 202 0500 or email:export.customs@mra.mu).

13 . How do I remove goods from the Freeport for re-export?

The removal of goods for re-export is done in the same manner as the entry of goods i.e An export electronic declaration must be submitted and processed through the Trade Net. Specific Customs procedure Codes for the re-export of goods are provided for these transactions. You are requested to refer to the Trade Net User manual for more information on the submission of export electronic declarations.

14 . Is custom supervision required for the re-export of goods?

All goods meant for re-export on duty free basis must be done under customs control. Goods are usually moved from a Freeport zone to the place of shipment under customs seal. There is no need to have customs accompaniment for full container loads being re-exported. However, certain specific transactions i.e re-exports in LCL or ship storing activity require customs supervision. A dedicated Customs team is available in the Freeport to ensure the seamless flow and transit of goods. Goods can also be transported in bonded trucks. A number of freight forwarding companies established in the Freeport offer this service to Freeport licensees.

15 . Can I sell goods onto the local customs territory?

As a Freeport licensee, you are authorized to sell a percentage of your annual re-export turnover onto the local market. In the case of a company incorporated in Mauritius, the maximum value of goods that can be removed for the local market is 50%.

16 . What is a Foreign company?

A foreign company is defined as an international company having a registered branch in the Mauritius Freeport to carry out Freeport activities.

17 . Do I need to pay duties and taxes on goods removed from the Freeport for consumption in Mauritius?

When goods are removed for consumption into Mauritius, all applicable duties and taxes are payable to the revenue authorities in Mauritius. The amount of duties and taxes payable on goods removed for sale in Mauritius range from 0-80% depending on the type of goods. For more detailed information on tariff schedules, you are requested to consult the web site of the Customs and Excise Department at http://ncb.intnet.mu/mof/index2.html. Corporate tax is also payable on proceeds realised by a Freeport licensee on the local market pursuant to section 49 of the Income Tax Act.

18 . As a Freeport Licensee, can I remove goods on my Freeport Company’s name for retail sale onto the local market?

A Freeport licensee cannot sell goods on its own Freeport Company name but must sell goods to a local importer established in Mauritius. For customs purposes, sales of goods into Mauritius are treated as an export transaction by the Freeport licensee with a corresponding import declaration made by the importer of goods in Mauritius.

19 . Can I remove samples from the Freeport for marketing or analysis purposes?

The removal of samples for marketing or analysis purposes falls under the purview of the Customs and Excise Department. Samples are allowed to be removed from a Freeport Zone for analysis purposes by registered surveyors, inspection and testing agencies such as SGS and Mauritius Standards Bureau.

20 . Are there restrictions on goods that can be sold onto the local market by a Freeport Licencee?

A number of commodities require special authorisations and import permits to enter the local customs territory. These are listed in Suppliers Control Act and include fish caught in the national waters or EEZ, agricultural products, foodstuff and motor vehicles. Import permits normally require clearance from the relevant Authorities, e.g.:
• Ministry of Agriculture for agricultural goods (the Plant Quarantine Service) and for animal products (the Veterinary Division);
• Ministry of Health for prepared foods, drugs, and chemicals with potential adverse effects on health;
• Police for arms and ammunitions;
• Ministry of Information for cinema films;
• Mauritius Telecom for telecommunications equipment.
• Ministry of Fisheries for fish and fish products Complete details on goods necessitating such authorizations are available on the web site of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce at the following address: http://www.mcci.org

21 . What are the criteria that, as a Freeport operator, I must meet to benefit from preferential port handling charges and how do I apply for it?

Preferential port handling charges are given to Freeport licensees for containerised or bulk cargo imported by a sea going vessel and exclusively meant for re-export.

Applications for preferential port handling charges have to be submitted at latest on the day of vessel’s arrival. The vessel’s arrival date shall be based on the port situation report of the Mauritius Ports Aauthority. Conditions to benefit from preferential port handling charges are listed below:

  • Freeport cargo imported by a Freeport licensee from overseas and exclusively destined for re-export;
  • Freeport goods imported/exported in containers or in bulk, provided that the whole consignment is re-exported;
  • Freeport goods which are re-exported constructively i.e Freeport cargo that remain within the Port terminal and re-exported therefrom;
  • Freeport goods which are imported in one container and re-exported in another container provided the quantity and net weight of cargo imported remain unchanged;
  • Freeport goods imported in more than one container, unstuffed and re-shuffled in the same number of containers prior to re-exportation, whether in the same or different containers;
  • Freeport goods imported in bulk and re-exported in containers or vice versa.

22 . What are the legal obligations of Freeport Licensees?

Legal obligations of Freeport licensees are given in the following pieces of legislations: The Freeport Act 2004; The Freeport Regulations 2005; Freeport trading companies i.e private Freeport developers and Freeport operators, are required to maintain a full and true written record of every transaction done by the Freeport licensee, including all commercial documents related to the said transaction and a copy of the entry made (Electronic Customs Declaration) for the entry or removal of goods in a Freeport zone. Such records mentioned above should be kept for a period of at least 5 years and be made available on demand to the Authority in line with section 20(4) of the Act. The Freeport Regulations 2005 sets out operating procedures for licensees in the Mauritius Freeport.

23 . Can I benefit from duty and tax exemptions on goods imported for my personal use and what is the procedure to benefit from duty and tax exemptions?

In accordance with section 16(1) (a) of the Freeport Act 2004, you are entitled to duty and tax exemption on all materials, equipment or machinery imported for use in a Freeport Zone. You are required to make an application to Customs along with relevant commercial documents i.e invoice, bill of landing, airway bill to the Comptroller of Customs in order to benefit from duty and tax exemption.

24 . As a Freeport Licensee, I am entitled to supplies made to me by a supplier from Mauritius with VAT at zero rate. What is the procedure to benefit from VAT at zero rate on supplies?

The Value Added Tax Act 1998 provides that supplies made to a Freeport licensee operating in a Freeport Zone shall be chargeable with Vat at zero rate. To benefit from Vat at zero rate, the Freeport operator must make an application to the Customs and Excise Department on the prescribed form available for download from the Mauritius Freeport Portal.

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