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Thread: aduanas

  1. #1
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    Default aduanas

    We are having difficulty understanding the Dominican port system. Containers registered for import at GATT pricing are held requesting a deposit, then they are charged both parking and central bank fees, on top of an import sales tax, in addition to the already high import charges and levels placed by the Dominican government.

    We have been approached to use "customary" side tactics to reduce charges and make the customs process less taxing. Our intention to import, employ and distribute product is being questioned by our almost "forced" coersion into corruption be the port authority in Santo Domingo.

    The corruption is incredible and lacks any explication aside form the fact that it must spread to the highest levels to allow it to exist so openly - do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this situation?

    ADF

  2. #2
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    Question Re: aduanas

    Originally posted by Fernandez
    We are having difficulty understanding the Dominican port system. Containers registered for import at GATT pricing are held requesting a deposit, then they are charged both parking and central bank fees, on top of an import sales tax, in addition to the already high import charges and levels placed by the Dominican government.

    We have been approached to use "customary" side tactics to reduce charges and make the customs process less taxing. Our intention to import, employ and distribute product is being questioned by our almost "forced" coersion into corruption be the port authority in Santo Domingo.

    The corruption is incredible and lacks any explication aside form the fact that it must spread to the highest levels to allow it to exist so openly - do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this situation?

    ADF
    Are you importing directly or using an agent?

  3. #3
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    I brought in a household container less than a year ago under an "exemption." True, I paid very little in taxes, but in the end, it cost me more to obtain the exemption than the taxes would have been. I still count the whole process as the worst experience of my life. If I had used a good agent, it would probably have been say, maybe the second or third worst experience of my life. Find a good agent.
    In regard to a remedy for the situation, I have heard of something called an atomic bomb. It might be useful. Seriously, to myself and many others corruption is almost synonymous with the port. I think it is a classic example of a country shooting itself in the foot.

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Here we go...

    When I read your post I felt like replying, then I decided not to, if after all what you said it's true and I will not be the one to deny it. Then another poster convinced me to do it, after all this forum is not about applying rose colored paint on your glasses but about showing you how to deal with DR reality.

    It seems that you already figured out how the system works. It's corrupt, it stinks, it ___ (add epithet of your choice here). Having agreed on that, let's move on to solutions, after being in the business for a few years I think I could give you one of two pieces of advise. As lhtown wisely told you it all comes down to getting a good customs broker. Here is how to do it:

    Talk to other businessmen importing the same products that you do. Ask them about what broker they use, how much time they've used them and if they are happy with the job. Of course nobody will be 100% happy, but you get my point.

    Decide which way you want to go. The easy/cheapest way out is to play by the "house's rules". There are loopholes in the system, a good broker can find a few for you. Some perfectly legal, some require bending a few rules.

    Meet with a few brokers, tell them to give you an estimate of what you will be paying in taxes. Give them as much information as possible. They are after all the defense, not the prosecution.

    Select a broker like you will select a lawyer for a criminal case (sorry that I make it sound like that). If you decide to work with a reputable firm you will have the advantage of years of experience behind, and the guarantee that comes with a firm that has money to lose if they mess. On the other hand a firm usually has a name to watch over, so, sometimes they will not do some "dirty tricks" that could save you big bucks, sometimes it's better to find yourself a broker, not a firm.

    Don't take your broker's word for granted, after all it's your money anyways. I suggest that you accompany him (but don't interfere) to see how things go at the port and how much money "exchange hands" in the process. There is always a "handling fee" that corresponds to that. It can ammount to some big money, so you would like to know if he is really "paying" it or if he just wants to make some extra money by charging you more. If you don't speak Spanish or look "too gringo" get someone you trust do this. It's better if you look like someone that is "just accompanying" your broker.

    Decide which will be a priority for you: cost or time. Putting too much pressure on your broker to get things out fast will lead to you paying more. Plan ahead for those delays.

    All right... I hope I helped. If you need more, feel free to email me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: aduanas

    Originally posted by Fernandez
    We are having difficulty understanding the Dominican port system. Containers registered for import at GATT pricing are held requesting a deposit, then they are charged both parking and central bank fees, on top of an import sales tax, in addition to the already high import charges and levels placed by the Dominican government.

    We have been approached to use "customary" side tactics to reduce charges and make the customs process less taxing. Our intention to import, employ and distribute product is being questioned by our almost "forced" coersion into corruption be the port authority in Santo Domingo.

    The corruption is incredible and lacks any explication aside form the fact that it must spread to the highest levels to allow it to exist so openly - do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this situation?

    ADF
    I have friends in the shipping business and they accept that greasing palms is often the only way to do business in these situations. I agree, it stinks, but often it's better than your produce/goods sitting in customs or on the dock for months.

    Yes, corruption is wide spread and goes to the top, the cost of doing business I'm afraid.
    Although corruption was evident at the ports in the last PLD government, it has apparently "boomed" under the current PRD government according to my friends.

  6. #6
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    Default i have nothing to add.....

    i think i'm going to cry....or lead an insurrection and lynch all the politicians and slugs and vermin...a violent uprising is the only way....who's with me?....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Here we go...

    Originally posted by Pib
    I suggest that you accompany him (but don't interfere) to see how things go at the port...
    I forgot to say that this you should only do a couple of times at the beginning. So you get the feel and could later relate to the process when he tells you how things are going.


    Edited by Pib to add:

    BTW, it is not the Port Authority the problem. It's the Customs Service (Aduanas). The port authority is only guarding the ports and the merchandise, they charge a fixed rate per day depending on how long your imports stay in the port. There is also Despacho Portuario Hispaniola, that serve as guarantors that you will return the container on the specified time upon leaving a deposit... but that is another story.
    Last edited by Pib; 05-01-2002 at 01:50 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Aduanas

    I've read with interest the discussions taking place.

    Are any of you aware of an International group that I think would be helpful in this matter ?

    The URL is http://www.transparency.org/knowl_intro.html

    Is there a Dominican Republic Chapter ? I've not found it yet.

    Thanks, WDP

  9. #9
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    Contact Luis Julio Jimenez at [email protected]

    I believe he is the local representative for this organization.

  10. #10
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    I have read all of the threads and all are probably correct. I have been in the DR for over 17 years. I first brought in my household goods and a vehicle in 1989. I went through all of the problems. While trying to solve the exoneration of my vehicle, it sat in the port so long that all four tires were (literally, with air in them) flat on the bottom. I had to buy new tires.

    I left the country in January of 2000, returning, with household goods and two vehicles, in June of 2001. When my household goods were being inspected, my Dominican wife was in the customs offices trying to resolve the problems of the vehicles and I was in the port, along with three assistants, trying to make sure that half of my household goods did not disappearl.

    The good, sweet, customs inspector, after taking all of our household goods out of the trialer, put a value on them that caused the import taxes to exceed the cost of the goods in Central America. Basically, what she saw was not the household goods. She saw a 6 foot, blue eyed rich American, whom she thought she could gain enough to retire on.

    My wife demanded a re-inspection with a different inspector, but she demanded it in the offices of the sub-director of customs, not in the port. When the container was re-inspected, she was present, with three other Dominicans. This blue eyed American was on the Mailcon drinking Dominican Viagra (Brugal).

    The bottom line was that the evaluation was reduced to a reasonable level and the taxes paid. Why? Because, even though I was bringing my household goods from my apartment back from Central American, I still had my house in the Dominican Republic and, as far as I was concerned, those household goods coming back into the country could have sat in the port until Hell froze over or until I could not pay the port charges, whichever came first..

    The problem is not the little people at the bottom with their hands out. The problem is the time and energy required to appeal their decisions and slap their hands down. (I can say the same thing about decisions of the personnel of the United States Consulate in the Dominican Republic.)

    If you have the time and patience and want to spend time in the port, you can get a decent evaluation of your import goods.

    Use a broker? Can they help? Yes, as long as you give them directions and do not accept what they say as gospel. If you are a "One-time customer" most of them sit in their offices and send messengers or runners to take care of the customs problems. They are more interested in the clients that bring in two, three, four, five, or more, containers a week.

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