Nicaragua - Country Commercial Guide
Customs Regulations
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The Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation Chapter of CAFTA-DR establishes rules designed to encourage customs transparency, predictability, and efficiency.  Under the agreement, Nicaragua must promptly publish its customs measures, including on the Internet.  The agreement also requires Nicaragua to release goods from customs promptly and to clear express shipments expeditiously, although businesses report arbitrary delays and fines.

The Central American Uniform Customs Code establishes harmonized customs procedures for Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, including uniform documents, electronic transmission of customs information, and electronic prepayment of charges, tariffs, and taxes.  In 2015, Nicaragua ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which contains provisions for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.  It also establishes measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation, customs compliance, technical assistance, and capacity building.

Importers must use the services of a licensed customs broker.  Businesses report that some customs brokers are known to commit customs fraud that deprives the Nicaraguan people of much-needed tax revenues and instead enriches regime insiders.  Nicaragua purportedly applies the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation to determine customs duties.  Businesses report, however, that the DGA habitually either misclassifies goods or erroneously applies an elevated value to levy a higher duty rate.  Businesses also report officials apply arbitrary reference prices. Information on current customs regulations can be obtained from the DGA at: +505 2248-2642, +505 2249-5699, +505 2249-4259.