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How to Reduce the Cost and Delays of Preshipment Inspections


From the February 2001 edition of Managing Exports

The requirement that export goods to certain nations undergo preshipment inspection continues to be a fact of life for export professionals (see, ¤Preshipment Inspection: Know Your Rights to Avoid Delays & Costs,Ë in November 2000 ME). Adding to the burden, the list of nations requiring preshipment inspection█and the circumstances under which they require it█changes regularly. To make matters even more complicated, not all published lists of nations requiring such inspections are accurate. To make sure we ¤get it right,Ë ME turns to Robert Abrahams, manager of the Toledo, Ohio Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Don't Believe Everything You Read

Abrahams emphasizes that many trade magazines have published inaccurate or misleading information for countries that require pre-shipment inspection. In fact, some lists still contain several countries that have dropped the requirement █ as far back as 1996. To make matters worse, many countries that do require pre-shipment inspection are omitted from those lists.

Since our November ME article reproduced the Commerce Department's Trade Information Center (TIC) list, which includes a number of such inaccuracies, we alert our readers not to use it. As a substitute, accompanying this article readers will find a list Abrahams provides to his exporter clients █updated as of December 22, 2000. It includes not only the countries requiring preshipment inspection, but the U.S. dollar value threshold and inspection agency each nation designates.

Not All Goods Always Subject

For many countries, explains Abrahams, ¤not all goods are subject to preshipment inspection requirements.Ë In certain cases, he adds, ¤a letter of credit may call for preshipment inspection, even if there is no country requirement per se.Ë Therefore, export professionals should always check with their foreign buyers regarding documentation requirements before shipment.

Mexico Doesn't Belong on List

Abrahams believes it is misleading to list Mexico as a nation requiring preshipment inspection, although this nation often finds its way onto such lists without any further explanation. ¤Mexico,Ë Abrahams explains, ¤only requires preshipment inspection for non-NAFTA goods that are subject to antidumping and countervailing duties in Mexico. NAFTA-qualified goods, as well as non-NAFTA goods made in, e.g, Germany, do not require preshipment inspection,Ë he notes.

BSI Agency Contact List: SGS, Miami: 305- 592-0410; Intertek (3), Miami: 305-513-3000; Intertek (4), Pasadena, TX: 713-475-2082; Cotecna (5), Chantilly, VA: 703-814-3000; Cotecna (6), Miami Lakes, FL: 305-828-8141; Inchcape, Miami: 305-593-7455; Bureau Veritas: 305-593- 7878; Control Union, Gretna, LA: 504-227-2025; Inspectorate America, Miami: 305-599-1124.

Countries Requiring Pre-Shipment Inspection of Goods

(Note: data updated Dec. 22, 2000; . = equal to or greater than; > = greater than; $ values reflect current exchange rates; where no FOB or CIF Incoterm given, assume Ex Works price.)

Country U.S. $ Value Threshold Inspection Agency in U.S.
Angola > $5,000 SGS
Argentina > 800 Pesos FOB (approx. $800) SGS, or Intertek (3)*, or Bureau Veritas, or Control Union Insp.
Bangladesh > $5,000 Bureau Veritas
Belarus > $5,000 Check with consignee █ Belarus has not appointed new inspection service
Benin Any Value Bureau Veritas
Bolivia > $1,000 █ However, shipments valued less than $12,000 FOB may be inspected in Bolivia at the point of entry, or in the U.S.  
Burkina Faso > 3 million CFA (African Financial Community) Francs, FOB (approx. $4,000) SGS
Burundi > 3 million Burundi Francs FOB (approx. $3,800) SGS
Cambodia > $4,000 SGS
Cameroon > 2 million CFA Francs (approx. $2,660) SGS
Central African Republic > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) SGS
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) > 3 million CFA Francs SGS or Inspectorate America Corp.
Congo > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) SGS
Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) Bureau Veritas
Ecuador > $4,000 FOB Cotecna (6), or Intertek (3), or Bureau Veritas, or SGS
Ethiopia > $2,000 FOB SGS
Gambia > $1,000 FOB Bureau Veritas
Georgia > $5,000 FOB Intertek (3)
Guinea > $3,000 FOB SGS
Kenya $5,000 for: cars; clothing (used); computers█any value) Cotecna (6)
Laos > $2,500 FOB Bureau Veritas
Liberia > $2,000 FOB Bureau Veritas
Madagascar > $1,000 FOB Bureau Veritas
Malawi > $2,000 FOB SGS
Mali > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) SGS
Mauritania > $5,000 FOB SGS
Moldova > $3,000 FOB SGS
Mozambique Conducted at random█Intertek notifies exporter Intertek (4)
Nigeria Any Value Intertek (3)
Peru $5,000 FOB except for used goods, which require inspection when > $2,000 FOB SGS, or Cotecna (6), or Bureau Veritas
Rwanda > $3,000 FOB for pharmaceuticals, fresh food;
> $5,000 FOB for other products
Saudi Arabia All ¤Regulated ProductsË (check with Saudi buyer if inspection required) Intertek (4) █ SASO Program Officer
Senegal > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) SGS, or Bureau Veritas
Sierra Leone > $2,000 CIF Bureau Veritas
Suriname > $450, when such goods are financed by the Dutch government under the ¤balance of payment support schemeË SGS in the Netherlands
Tanzania > $5,000 FOB Cotecna (6)
Togo > 3 million CFA Francs FOB (approx. $4,000) Cotecna (6)
Uganda > $10,000 FOB Intertek (3)
Uzbekistan Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverages█any value Intertek (3)

* See list of Inspection Agency phone numbers at end of accompanying article. (Source: Prepared by Robert Abrahams, from data in BNA International Trade Reporter Export Reference Manual)

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