Outline of Export Clearance

When a shipment of goods is exported from Papua New Guinea whether it is by sea, air or land, the owner of those goods must declare them to Customs. The owner or his agent (known as a Customs Agent or Customs Broker) is required to prepare and lodge with Customs an export declaration (known as an entry) describing the nature, quantity, value, and destination of the goods to be exported.

This entry, containing the name, address and Tax File Number of the owner, is a legal document and any errors may attract the imposition of administrative penalties. Deliberately making a false declaration to Customs may cause the goods to be seized and the owner or agent prosecuted.

The owner of exported goods should be aware that the export of some goods is restricted in that they may only be exported under the authority of a permit or licence without which the goods are prohibited. The export of some other goods is prohibited absolutely.

Restrictions and prohibitions generally apply to goods such as protected wildlife, some heritage items, dangerous weapons including firearms, illicit drugs, pornographic materials and copyright infringing goods. For further information please contact any Customs office or see Prohibited Exports for export prohibitions and restrictions at the border.

Exporters should note that some 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.

Customs is currently modernising its business processes and migrating to the electronic reporting system called Asycuda++, which provides Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) clearance process. This system is replacing the need to physically lodge paper-based reports and supporting documents for each shipment although at present only Port Moresby is fully electronic. Other ports are slowly being upgraded to accept the system in a graduated roll out across the country. In addition to targeted pre-export inspections, Post Clearance Audit (PCA) teams will conduct audits at exporters premises at any time within 5 years after the goods have been exported as part of a strategy to ensure exporters are honest with Customs.

Customs' compliance strategy commences with education of exporters and customs agents and progresses through administrative penalties to seizure and prosecution action. Customs aim is to achieve voluntary compliance within the exporting industry, which in turn will be reflected in a lesser need for Customs intervention at the time of export.

The following procedures are current as of now but will be changing in the near future. This website will be updated accordingly:

Export Clearance Procedures

1.1 Lodging an Export Declaration: The first stage of the export clearance procedure is to lodge an entry (Customs Form 15) through the EDI system. The entry can only be lodged by a licensed customs agent authorised in writing by the owner of the goods to act on his/her behalf. The customs agent will deal with all the requirements needed to clear the goods through Customs, Quarantine and any other Government agency that has a regulatory role in relation to exports.

1.2 Prepare Supporting Documents; The second stage is to prepare the following supporting documents:

(1) Export Invoice;
(2) Packing List;
(3) Bill of lading/Airway Bill
(4) Certificate of origin and value (if applicable)
(5) Export License/ Permits (if applicable); and
(6) Other relevant documents (if applicable).

1.3 Assessment Notice; The third stage is for the customs agent to print a hard copy of the entry and produce it to Customs at a designated Customs office with the supporting documents. (This process is only interim while awaiting all Agents to go on line. At a future date only nominated entries will require printing and producing with supporting documents)

1.4 Check the Declaration and Supporting Documents: The fourth stage is the checking and verification of the declaration and the attached documents submitted to ensure the goods have been correctly classified using the Customs tariff, the correct value of the goods has been calculated and declared and the correct rate of duty (if applicable) has been applied. (At a future date this check will only be required on nominated entries, all other will be electronically cleared)

1.5 Payment of Export Duties, Taxes (if any) and Official Receipt: The fifth stage is payment of applicable duties and taxes as detailed on the notice of assessment. There are currently two means for payment of export duties and taxes; these are by cash or by approved company or Bank cheques, payable at a Customs office. (At a future date Electronic funds transfer will be a third payment option)

1.6 Inspection and Delivery of Cargo: Once the goods have been delivered to a Customs Controlled Area and at any time up to the clearance of the vessel from Papua New Guinean waters, Customs has the right to examine the goods being exported to determine the nature, origin, condition, quantity and value of the goods declared to Customs. Customs may also examine consignments where intelligence and risk assessment indicates they may contain prohibited or restricted exports.

The owner of the goods and anyone who causes the goods to be exported must retain all relevant records in relation to those goods for a period of 5 years from the date of export. If the owner or other person is selected for an audit these records will be examined to ensure compliance with the Customs Act. Failure to retain these records carries severe penalties including a term of imprisonment.

(Refer Section 131A onwards of the Customs Act, Chapter 101)