I was delighted to be invited by Santander and the Department for International Trade in the East of England to present to regional companies about opportunities in four Latin American countries (Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay) in three specific sectors (agritech, food processing/packaging and food/drink). The event was superbly organised by José Richart, an experienced International Trade Adviser for DiT in the region and Tracy Grazioli for Santander. We also heard from Mauricio Munguia at Santander (this bank has a strong presence in Latin America; they organise trade missions and have other useful resources available for exporters) and Jon Morgan from Britain Latin America Logistics.

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Jon’s presentation was basically a quick logistics guide to Latin America, focusing on Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay. Jon began by explaining routes, transit times, customs clearance duration for all four countries; he also talked through the regulatory bodies and authorities for each country, and described the most cost-effective carriage methods for the region. It would be impossible to summarise it all here, but for example, we learnt that no tax or duty is chargeable on samples or exhibition goods brought into Uruguay, or that bringing goods into Latin America in a suitcase as checked luggage is a really bad idea. He also highlighted the risk of using the same courier to deliver goods to repeated clients in Latin American destinations as the authorities can decide that the consignee of the shipment is actually an importer who isn’t paying the correct import taxes.

Another very important aspect of logistics to the countries in question, explained Jon, is that for Colombia, Peru and Chile, there may be 0% duty for specific importers if the products to be imported are accompanied with a Certificate of Origin/EUR1. Without this, the products will be liable to up to 17% duty (per CIF value); although this duty percentage can change per tariff code. Indeed, for any country looking to establish a presence in Latin America, with Brexit looming, 0% duty could no longer be applicable for products with a UK origin and, as such, due diligence and preparatory investigation should be considered prior to market entry.


Jon also handed in a useful information sheet that served as at-a-glance guide to costs and timescales for moving goods between the UK and Latin America, in particular the requirements for importer registration, and tools for calculating taxes and duties for each country.

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For more information about logistics, contact Jon at Britain Latin America Logistics, and for a conversation about getting started in Latin America, get in touch!

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