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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Most of the goods can be imported into Cuba. Purchases made abroad are first assessed at the companies level where contract commissions are created, then at the Ministry level. A certain number of products are subject to standards which may depend on an authorisation either from the Ministry of Health or from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. The companies desiring to trade with Cuba have to supply a certain number of documents (certificate of origin, invoice, etc.).

Cuba applies special duties in regard to temporary imports, for instance.


Customs duties
The nomenclature in force is the harmonised system of Brussels. Cuba has lowered its customs duties since 1996, which range from 0 to 30% (within the frame work of the most favoured nation clause) according to the nature of the products. However, some products are more taxed in order to protect local productions ( such as fizzy drinks, beers, spirituous liquors).


Import taxes
VAT applied to goods imports:
==> standard rate: there is no VAT in Cuba, but a tax on sales which rate varies according to the nature of the products.
==> reduced rate: there is no reduced rate.

Another 0.35% customs clearance is levied when introducing goods in Cuba.



There are different distribution networks: chains meant for tourists, chains meant for the population and foreign residents, and intermediaries.
Chains targeting tourists market souvenir items and small food-processing.
Chains targeting the Cuban population market everyday products (food-processing, household, etc...)
Foreign companies have no access to the wholesale and retail trade Cuban market. They can only directly sell to Cuban companies or institutions, if the latter possess the corresponding exporting license.


Transportation of goods

By road
Road transport in Cuba extends over 30,000 km.

By rail
The 1,500 km railway lines are used almost exclusively for sugar industry.

By sea
There are 16 commercial ports allowing to link the island to the exterior.

By air
There are 7 international airports.


Cuba is a member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) since 1975. The competent institution concerning industrial property is the Cuban Office of Industrial Property (OCPI/COIP). Cuba has subscribed to most of the international conventions (except the Berne Convention).

Patents and brands

In Cuba patents and trademarks have to be applied for by going to the OCPI. There are 3 types of patents: patent of invention, patent for a complement of invention and patent for industrial models.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Trademark Law No. 203 on Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs May 22, 2000 : :


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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