Below some general ideas that clarify and explain official documents usually required by Tunisian Authorities for import and export operations and facilities granted by customs to operators providing that customs regulations and particular conditions are fully respected:
HTS code and certificate of origin (CO) are very imported as per the
An HTS (or HS) code stands for Harmonized System or Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) the codes are used to classify
and define internationally traded goods.
With regarded to CO certificate of origin (CO) this is a document declaring in which country a commodity or good was manufactured. The certificate of origin contains information regarding the product its destination and the country of export.
The CO is an important form because it can help determine whether certain goods are eligible for import or whether goods are subject to duties. Local authorities can help classify individual commodity types before bookings are placed to know exact duty to be billed for by Authorities for all imports.
Custom clearance is the responsibility of the importer and exporter and both
parties need to ensure they’re able to produce the below listed documents for the
smooth shipment and delivery of products.
Customs Officers will not open up all packages without good reasons
every package is checked by scanner or by x-ray machine to verify that items match customs forms.
Customs charges are determined by the following: Customs Duty – This is a tax levied by a country on all imported goods. It is charged as a percentage of a product’s value as determined by its commodity code and associated duty rating.
Tunisian commodity codes can be found on the Tunisian customs website:
VAT – This is generally charged on the amount paid for the goods value the shipping
costs and the duty. All these charges are known as ‘taxable import’. Rate of VAT is
different from a country to another. In Tunisia VAT charges are currently 19 %.
Anti-dumping duty – Certain products may be subject to anti-dumping duty witch is
imposed by countries when they wish to protect the domestic manufacture of the product and also to discourage the import at a lower cost than the supplier’s local market rate. Importers can find out if their goods are subject to anti-dumping duty (and how much) through the customs website. The Tunisian government also regularly updates list of applicable products.
What can be imported in Tunisia:
As per special legislative or regulatory texts some products are absolutely prohibited
in Tunisia or are subject to restrictions particular control measures special formalities
or are the subject of monopolies in particular:
– For reasons of public safety
– To preserve hygiene health and public morality
– To control fraud in the exchange of goods and the manufacturing of foodstuffs or
agricultural products whether natural or industrial
– To preserve artistic historical or archaeological heritage or to protect natural
– To protect state monopolies
– To protect industrial commercial and artistic property
– For economic and financial reasons.
In absence of any contrary measures these prohibition or restrictions some particular
measures will apply to the goods whatever the customs regime assigned to it.
Approved economic operator is a status granted as per convention concluded
between customs authorities and the operator concerned to any enterprise
established in Tunisia undertaking an activity in relation to external trade and/or
logistical activity trusted by the customs administration and fulfilling the minimum
conditions as per customs regulations. The customs administration grants the status
of approved economic operator according to one of the following categories:
a. ‘Simplification of customs procedures’
b. ‘Security and safety’
The enterprise that obtained one of the categories of the status of approved
economic operator benefit in the context of undertaking their activities from
simplification and facilitation in accordance with the governmental decree.
Conditions for obtaining the status of approved economic operator under the
Simplification of Customs Procedures category and the simplification resulting from it.
The Customs authorities grants the status of approved economic operator under the
Simplification of Customs Procedures category to undertakings performing external
trade operations in the context of their activities.
The enterprise that obtained status of approved economic operator under the
Simplification of Customs Procedures category must fulfil the following conditions:
– have a customs situation in legal order, particularly for the three years preceding
date of submission of application:
– have a regularized tax situation
– have had a solvent financial situation for the three years preceding the date of
submission of the application for benefits both for the company concerned and its
– have commercial accounting in accordance with the legislation in force and
computerized stock accounting meeting the requirements of customs checks
Reference: Government Decree no. 2018-612 of 17 July 2018 establishing the
conditions procedures and arrangements for granting suspending and withdrawing
the status of approved economic operator.
– adopt reliable procedures accepted by the customs authorities for archiving
company records and information in order to protect them against loss destruction or
– have a regular situation regarding social security payments/declaration.
When the company concerned has obtained the status of approved economic
operator under the Simplification of Customs Procedures category it will benefit from
simplification of the administrative formalities with the customs department which
notably consist in:
– enabling it to release its goods immediately without being subject to physical
inspections at border crossings by means of simplified declarations issued in
accordance with the provisions of the Customs Code
– enabling it to have its goods upon expiry of a period set by the convention if it has
not been advised by the customs services of the decision to proceed with a physical
inspection of its goods
– Domiciliation of all its customs operations to a regional customs office known as the
– Designation of a single interlocutor from customs officers at the concerned company
offices with particular responsibility for resolving any difficulties that may arise and
supporting it where applicable in completing the customs formalities
– Submission of the anticipated customs declarations before arrival of the goods.
External trade operations as well as their financial settlements are covered by a commercial invoice with the exception of products excluded from the regime of freedom of import or export that are covered by a title of external trade. Except where the regulations provide otherwise. The financial settlement must be made in accordance with the conditions established by the exchange regulations in force.
The title of external trade is an administrative document that is personal to its beneficiary and non-transferable. It is called an import authorization when it concerns products excluded from the regime of freedom to import and an export authorization when it concerns products excluded from the regime of freedom to export.
All products subject to importation or exportation in the context of external trade must be designated in accordance with the general nomenclature of the products as provided by the nomenclature for customs clearance of the products. An import authorization is also required for imports without payment. These imports must not have any commercial character and may only be authorized by the Trade Ministry on exceptional basis.