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Commercial consignments:

Commercial Invoice must be signed by shipper and is required “in Original” to apply for Customs clearance. Commercial Invoice must be IN SPANISH language ( In case of invoices issued in a different language, a translation will have to be provided and signed by the consignee accordingly) and must contain AT LEAST the following information:

  • Full name and address of both shipper and consignee
  • Importer or TAX ID of the Consignee ( Consult with a REX CARGO Import Specialist of not sure or not available )
  • Date and place of despatch,
  • Country of origin
  • INCOTERM (2010)
  • Quantity of package,
  • Marks numbers and kind of package
  • Contents of each package, with detailed description of each article (Including HTS Code)
  • Net weight of each kind of article and gross weight of each package in kg
  • Unit price and total of each article
  • CIF and FOB value and specification of transportation – and other charges

Prior to clearance, the consignee will be required to sign in the reverse side of the invoice declaring acceptance of the information contained in such invoice.

Import License may be required for certain goods. When in doubt, please Consult with a REX CARGO Import specialist.

Sample consignments:

  • Value USD 25.00 or less: Pro Forma Invoice.
  • Value over USD 25.00: (handled as Commercial consignments )

A Unique Customs Declaration (DUA) will be drafted and processed for every import and export consignment.


The process of clearance depends on the type of cargo and means of arrival. FCL and Perishable, high value, Live Animals and other sensitive air shipments may opt for “anticipated clearance” conducted at the port of entry upon arrival. LCL and regular air cargo will have to be transported unto a customs bonded facility for manifest breakdown and arrival declaration. Storage and Handling charges for the bonded facility process may apply. Please consult with a REX CARGO Import Specialist for country/mode specific details.

Anticipated Clearance:

A request for such will be processed provided it is presented at least One (1) working day prior to shipment arrival. Anticipated clearance process is a discretionary resource exclusive of customs authorities and therefore is not guaranteed that every request will be granted.

Standard Clearance: 

If import documents and permits are in order, this process can be executed between two(2) to six(6) hours upon shipment entry within the customs system. Free Trade Zone shipments are not cleared but rather transferred from a port or bonded facility to the Free Trade Zone premises as applicable, this process is usually faster than a standard clearance.

Small packages or “courier” shipments:

Any shipment with a CIF value of USD Five Hundred dollars ($500.00)  or less can be cleared in an expeditious manner provided all documents are in order and they are transported under an “Express Delivery” manifest and declared as such prior to arrival. For more information on this modality please contact your REX CARGO import specialist.

Documentary and Physical Inspections:

If a consignment is “flagged” by customs for physical or documentary inspection, one can expect a “reasonable” delay, usually not more than a few hours. An importer and origin station (in the case of foreign partner routed shipments) will be informed accordingly and shall be able to follow-up on the process through Webtracker.

Duties and Taxes:

All commercial shipments are subject to Sales or VAT Tax payable upon clearance and most consignments are subject to import duties. The percentage of the import duty to be applied depends on the nature of the goods.

Free Trade Zone shipments are exempt of tax and duties unless the shipment consists of material that will not be consumed within the Free Trade Zone. Usually Free Trade Zone shipments liable for payment of duties and taxes consist of promotional material such as caps, t-shirts, etc. Please consult with the REX CARGO Import specialist for details.





In all cases, carriers and co-loaders will charge destination fees for an “assortment” of services such as:

  • Document turnover
  • Customs Formalities
  • Shipment transfer
  • Bonded warehouse
  • Terminal Fee
  • Handling

These fees are usually not contemplated in the negotiation at origin and may become an “unpleasant surprise” to the consignee or shipper (depending on the Incoterm ).

These destination charges in some cases may “match” the freight charges and therefore should be considered always when sending cargo to our network.

Back to Back consolidations are usually where the effect of these charges is felt the most. REX CARGO STRONGLY recommends that prior to shipping, a REX CARGO Import Specialist is consulted to verify the list of “approved” carriers and “co-loaders” and in that way offer an alternative or at least visibility with respect to destination charges.

It is always best if the destination charges are “negotiated” at origin and that REX CARGO is informed of the agreed fees prior to the arrival of the consignment.

Central America is conformed by Costa Rica, Nicaragua,Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador while Panamá is considered part of South America.

Throughout the years, the Central American countries have subscriben a number of Bilateral and multilateral trade agreements as well as preferencial treatment agreements with many countries.

If you believe your goods are eligible for preferential duty treatment, please consult with a REX CARGO Import/Export Specialist.

You can also verify Trade and Preferential agreement status >HERE<



A Certificate of Origin (CO) is an important international trade document attesting that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country in accordance with the rules of origin negotiated between the countries participating in trade agreements. COs also constitute a declaration by the exporter.

With the introduction of this document, the importer in the country of destination may request preferential tariff treatment accorded to the goods.

There are two certification schemes and within each particular treaty, it is established which of these two apply and how :

  1. Self-certification issued by exporter, producer or importer (as applicable)
  2. Controlled certification which is issued by an officially designated authority.

The countries of Central America have all negotiated individual and collective Free Trade Agreements with other countries or regions.

It is very important to consider that adherence to the “letter” of a Free Trade Agreement is key to maintaining its benefits and in the case of the certificates of origin, in almost every case, the actual format of the document is established as an integral part of the agreement and therefore, to be acceptable, it must comply 100% with the format of reference incorporated in the agreement.


Certificates of Origin (CO) are integral parts of the official agreement and therefore in many cases, there is a predetermined “Template” or “Format” that has to be utilized. Failure to adhere to the “exact” template specification may result in the elimination of the preferencial treatment for a particular consignment. It is also worthy to consider that a revision of a CO may occur several years after the importation of the consignment and therefore, the reimbursement of the exempted amount and  heavy fines may apply retro-actively if a CO is rendered invalid. If you have doubts about this or any other issue regarding COs or Free Trade Agreements in general, pelase consult with a REX CARGO Import/Export specialist. 

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