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As a general rule, customs agents, who are trained in classification and valuation procedures, should be able to properly classify your goods.

Where classification is in doubt persons are advised to contact the tariff officer located in the regional offices in Port Moresby, Lae or Rabaul. If the matter is more complex then it will be referred to the Headquarters Branch in Port Moresby for determination.

While advice on classification may be obtained from any regional office only the headquarters office can issue a ruling.

The difference between advice and a ruling is that advice is of a general nature and is given to customs agents, clients and industry so that they are able to make a decision for which they are accountable. Hence, advice is provided without prejudice.

A ruling is an instruction on a classification issue that must be adhered to. Customs is accountable for any error made in the ruling. A ruling may be challenged in Court, but if it is not, then it carries the full weight of law and persons who disregard the ruling may be liable to additional duty, administrative penalties, and seizure of their goods or prosecution.

It is important to note that for Customs to make accurate and consistent classification rulings and to provide general advice, importers and traders have a responsibility to provide Customs with as much information as possible when asking for a ruling to be made. This may include literature, brochures, catalogues or even samples of the product in question, together with suggested tariff classification possibilities and any supporting arguments.

Once a ruling is made it remains in force until it is superseded. Amendments or changes to the Harmonized System (HS) or Tariff Nomenclature may result in Customs issuing a ruling without a request from industry. This ruling applies in the same way as if a particular importer or customs agent had requested it.

Customs Tariff Act

The Customs Tariff Act 1990 has two (2) Schedules:

  1. Schedule No: 1 - Import Tariff
  2. Schedule No: 2 - Export Tariff

Import Tariff - Schedule No: 1

All goods imported into Papua New Guinea must be classified using this schedule. For further details please see tariff classification.

Export Tariff - Schedule No: 2

All export duties in respect of goods entered for export out of Papua New Guinea are charged, paid and collected in accordance with Section 5 of the Customs Tariff Act, as specified in column 3 of Schedule 2 and is subject to variation on export price change. Where no item appears in Schedule 2 the "rate of export shall be free".

Export values on all exported goods or commodities are "free on board" ship or aircraft, the total prices paid or payable or transaction value by a buyer who intends to take delivery of exported goods to an importing country.

Most of the goods exported from Papua New Guinea are "free" from export duty. Notable exceptions are the following commodities:

  1. Crocodile skins
  2. Log exports and,
  3. Sandal wood

Exporters should note that other commodities require Export Permits before they can be lawfully exported. This especially applies to goods of Chapter 3, Chapter 28, Chapter 44 and Chapter 71 (fish product, alluvial gold and concentrates, log and precious metal and articles of precious metal).

Export Permits are issued by the Government agency responsible (for instance the Fisheries Authority, Forestry Authority, etc) and should be presented to Customs on demand. Attempts to export these commodities without a valid Export Permit may cause the goods to be seized and the exporter prosecuted.