Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar recently announced a measure whereby a 10% import duty would be levied on personal imports for the third quarter. This measure is aimed to encourage the ‘BUY LOCAL’ campaign. Clearly this should not detract from the importation of necessary items where this import duty would affect those who most need certain products that are not easily sourced locally or on medical and associated grounds.
To clarify the position, under this scheme import duty will not be paid on personal imports of the following :
- Medical aids and accessories;
- Sanitary products
- Any items to assist those with disabilities;
- Educational products;
- Clothing clearly labelled as children’s clothing;
- Imports totalling less than £25;
This is a new policy in which the Government is exploring a different approach in order to support local business as we emerge from the current crisis and at a time when businesses locally are seeking to find their feet. It is aimed at encouraging people to shop locally and it may be necessary to adapt this list and to issue further clarifications from time to time. The above list is therefore not finite.
In any event, the Collector of Customs already has wide discretion generally and if the situation should present itself whereby a product is necessary and not available in the local market, the person seeking to import it can always write to the Collector of Customs to seek his discretion to waive the duty. The Collector has been empowered to do this for many years.
Furthermore, as is customary for changes of duty, if anyone can show that they ordered an item before the introduction of this scheme, they also can apply to the Collector for him to exempt the item from duty.
During this quarter the Government will assess the impact of this policy and seek ways to rationalise the existing tariff to consider the best ways to harmonise rates and make it more understandable.