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Import Requirements and Documentation

There are no import taxes. However, all imports are subject to a 20 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) levied at the time of customs clearance. Some commodities are also subject to excise duties.


The list of goods subject to registration is changed quite often. In principle, the purpose of registration is to monitor the movement of some "sensitive" goods such as textiles and metals (subject to export registration), or of food products which have been in short supply on the domestic market for a certain period: some types of meat, dairy products, sunflower and vegetable oils. These products will receive an automatic license within one day of receipt of application in the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Agriculture. Applicants are required to present a certificate from the court in which their incorporation was registered and a certificate of tax registration.

Other substantiating documentation may be required: a contract, pro forma invoice, order, tax number, certificate of origin, EUR1 certificate, veterinary certificate and/or a certificate of quality. For 2003 and 2004, the list of imported goods subject to registration covered only three commodities groups with tariff numbers 210690200, 330210100, 8524 and 39074000 including alcohol, CD preforms and polycarbonates for CD manufacturing.

Authorizations (Licenses)

Decree Number 307 and Decree 233 stipulate the foreign trade regime of Republic of Bulgaria. Certain products must receive authorization prior to importation. This is a non-automatic licensing process. Authorization, in the form of an import license, is normally issued within two days of the Ministry's receipt of the application. Applicants are required to present certificates from the court and tax registrations as well as supporting documents. Imports of pharmaceuticals also require a copy of the license for wholesale trade. Appeals following the Ministry of Economy denial of a license must be made in writing to the Minister of Economy within five days after the issuance of the decision. The Minister is required to render a final opinion within five days of receipt of the appeal. The Decrees on Bulgarias Trade Policies in 2002 provides for licensing of the import of gold, silver, platinum, opiates, nuclear materials, explosives, arms, dual use commodities, endangered species of animals and plants, and some herbicides.

Import Quotas

Several decrees state that certain goods are subject to quotas where the tariff is reduced or waived completely. The sizes of the quotas are determined by calendar year. Quota allocations are distributed by the Ministry of Economy through a tendering process or auction. No single applicant may receive a quota allocation larger than 35 percent of the total. Quota recipients may be required to place a deposit or a performance bond issued by a bank. Quota allocations are not transferable. Goods that are subject to duty-free or reduced tariff-rate-quota regimes require certified, simplified customs declarations for import, or a favorable resolution in writing from the principal ministry or department. In 2003 the goods covered by this import preference are agricultural insecticides and herbicides. Under a separate list, engines and spare parts for agricultural machines are also covered.

Temporary Entry

Products may be imported into Bulgaria on a temporary basis as long as they are not prohibited by law. The rules on temporary imports are contained in the Regulation for Application of the Law on Customs. Article 58 allows entry of samples and products for trade exhibitions. The term of entry cannot exceed six months although a request for extension can be made. Customs duties will not be levied if a letter of guarantee from a Bulgarian organization is presented vouching for eventual return of the goods or payment of duties. The Regulations also provide for the temporary import of products and equipment. Article 15 lists 15 categories. For example, equipment for repairs, finishing, processing and testing may be imported temporarily duty-free. Any goods intended for re-export, such as textiles and apparel, may also enter duty-free. Article 51 establishes time limits from 3 months to one year for re-export. In practice, Customs requires a deposit equivalent to the assessed duties or a bank guarantee during the temporary import period. Bulgaria is a party to the Customs Convention on Carnet (ATA) for Temporary Import of Goods.

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