My 1st export from Ecuador: the good, the bad, the ugly, + the ABCs

Recently, I completed my first export from Ecuador. 

Ecuador-themed 2013 wall calendars. 

A big 9 kilo box of them. 

What did I learn? 

Well, it’s not as easy as just taking them to DHL and “chao”. 

1. First, you have to check to see if the product you’re shipping will have to pay import tariffs upon entrance to the country you are shipping to.  To do that, you’ll need to find out the HS Code, every product has one.  The fastest way to find it is to “Google it”.  For instance, “HS Code calendars”.  Or in Spanish “partida arancelaria calendarios”.  Or you can go to this link from the Ecuadorian Customs and search it by the name of the product (in Spanish)… http://sice1.aduana.gob.ec/ied/arancel/index.jsp

2. Then, you can use the handy free tool online at macmap.org after free registration to see if the product you are exporting will incur an import duty to the country you are exporting to based on the country you are exporting from.  Register than follow the link that says “Market Access Map” and fill in the blanks with the HS code of your product. 

3. (If applicable) In the Mac Map tool from the last step, if it appears that the product you are exporting would incur a duty yet doesn’t because it falls under a special bi-lateral treaty then in order to take advantage of the benefit you will need to get a Certificate of Origen (Certificado de Origen).  It’s not as hard as it sounds, to get one in Ecuador you will need to register in the website of the Ecuapass, portal.aduana.gob.ec .  Choose the option “Solicitud de uso”.  In the menu choose “Ventanilla Unica” then fill in the form at “Elaboracion de DJO”.  Then choose “Elaboracion de CO” and fill in that form completely, but you will need to pick it up physically at the local offices of MIPRO where you reside in Ecuador.  The cost is minimal.  But my wall calendars according to Mac Map enter the US at 0% duty so I could skip this step. 

4. Then choose your shipping carrier.  For important documents I recommend DHL, you can get items from Ecuador to the USA quick, usually in about 2 days (for about $60).  But for a box that weighs 9 kilos like mine it would cost $350 to ship, while with the general post of Ecuador CORREOS ECUADOR it only cost me $150.  Correos Ecuador does give you a tracking number where you can check the shipping status online and works with the government post services of other nations. 

However, if I register as an exporter at ExportaFacil.gob.ec I can ship internationally with Correos Ecuador at about half the price of the normal shipment of $150.  For me, it cost just $72 to ship the box.  You will need to obtain an Ecuadorian tax ID number (RUC) from the SRI to sign up for the discount program. 

5. Once your goods make it to the final destination the easy way is to pay a friend or relative to ship them off one by one to their final destinations or if exporting to the USA, you could use a service like Webgistix.com.  They receive, unpack, warehouse and ship products to their final destination for a fee. 

My calendars arrived. 

They sold.  All good. 

But I underestimated how long they would take to arrive. 

Allow 4 days to arrive in Miami from Ecuador with Correos Ecuador.  Then allow another 2 days for the package to clear customs, more if your package hits the US on a weekend when offices are closed.  Then another 2 days for it to get to its final destination in the USA.  Then give it 2-4 more days when mailing the items within the US unless you’d like to pay more to overnight them. 

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