Japan is one of the important export markets for Nepali products. Major exports from Nepal to Japan are readymade garments, agricultural products, felt products, among others. Most of the Nepali products get duty-free access in Japan.
Exporting to Japan
Exporters from Nepal need to find a partner in Japan who will undertake import-related formalities. The formalities start with the lodging of an import declaration and end with issuance of an import permit after the necessary examination and payment of Customs duty and excise tax.
Completion and Submission of Import Declarations
Importer in Japan must make Declaration by lodging an import (Customs duty payment) declaration describing the quantity and value of goods as well as any other required particulars. Usually, a Customs broker files the declaration as a proxy for importers.
Documents to Be Submitted (Customs Law Article 68)
Three copies of import (Customs duty payment) declaration form (Customs form C-5020) must be prepared and submitted to Customs with the following documents:
- Bill of lading or Air Waybill
- Certificate of Origin (where a WTO rate is applicable)
- Generalized system of preferences, certificates of origin (Form A) (where a preferential rate is applicable)
- Packing lists, freight accounts, insurance certificates, etc.
- Licenses, certificates, etc. required by laws and regulations other than the Customs Law (when the import of certain goods is restricted under such laws and regulations);
- Detailed statement on reductions of, or exemption from Customs duty and excise tax (when such reduction or exemption is applicable to the goods);
- Customs duty payment slips (when goods are dutiable).
In principle, Customs requires only those additional documents necessary to ascertain important considerations for permission.
The Cannabis and Handguns, etc. are prohibited by law. Click here to find the list of Prohibited Articles.
Verification of Other Laws and Regulations
Some imported goods may have a negative effect on Japanese industry, economy, and hygiene, or on public safety and morals. Such goods fall under "import restrictions" as provided by various domestic laws and regulations. In the case of restricted imports for which the importer must have a permit and approval relating to the import of goods under the Customs Law, requirements for inspection or other requisites (permit and approval) must be met.
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Exporting food and plant products to Japan
There are no special restrictions regarding the import of food materials from Nepal to Japan. The necessary procedures to follow, depending on the type of product imported, are:
- Plant Quarantine Inspection, executed by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF)
- Food Sanitation Inspection, executed by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW)
- Customs Clearance by Japan Customs
Plant quarantine and the food sanitation inspection can be processed concurrently if all the arrangements are in place. In addition to the above regulations, all the products sold in Japan are required to be labelled in Japanese, based on Japan Agricultural Standards Act (JAS) and Food Sanitation Act. Nepali exporters may want to consult with importers regarding this issue if the product they are shipping is for retail sale. The agencies who will be able to answer questions about labelling are:
- Food Labelling Division, Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan. Tel: +81-3-3507-8800
- Labelling and Standards Division, Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan. Tel: +81-3-3502-8111
Plant Quarantine Inspection
By law all plant imports must be checked for pests and diseases. Depending on the level of processing, processed food items may also require inspection. Dried spices sealed in containers for retail sale do not require inspection. Plant quarantine inspection is conducted at the seaport or airport of entry. In case there are any problems, entry is not allowed, and the shipment will be destroyed or reshipped. If pests can be removed through disinfecting, the products can then be clearer for entry into Japan
The documents that the importer must submit to the Plant Protection Station in charge of the port of entry are the Application for Import Plant Inspection, and the Phytosanitary Certificate. The Plant Protection Station may also request information on production process (if any) for the product, and other documents such as the Bill of Lading (B/L), Invoice, Packing List, and Airway Bill.
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To ensure the safety of imported foods and related products, Article 27 of the Food Sanitation Law obliges importers to submit import notification. As Article 27 of the Food Sanitation Law states that "Those who wish to import food, food additives, apparatuses, or container/packages for sale or for use in business, shall notify the Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare on each occasion as prescribed by the Ministerial Ordinance," the imported foods and related products must not be used for sale without import notification.
"Notification Form for Importation of Foods, etc." is submitted to a Quarantine Station of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. At the quarantine station, food sanitation inspectors carry out document examination and inspection to see the foods and products comply with the Food Sanitation Law.
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