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Govt announces 10% import duty on personal shopping to encourage local consumption

A new import duty of 10% will be imposed on all personal shopping brought into Gibraltar including online shopping, with additional strict checks carried out at the airport and the land frontier as the Government announced measures to encourage people to shop locally.

During the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, import duties were reduced to zero other than in certain key areas.

These measures were designed to provide financial support for businesses and to “stimulate and accelerate” economic activity and will continue for most commercial imports.

But the 10% import duty on personal purchases will help to support the “Keep it Local” campaign launched by the Government, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses, the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement.

This flat rate of 10% import duty will not apply to any foodstuffs.

“This duty will be levied on all importations through the land frontier, as well as all online purchases delivered to Gibraltar by courier or by the Post Office,” Mr Picardo said.

“The land frontier includes personal imports via the Commercial Gate and this will apply at the airport too.”

“The duty is intended to encourage our community to spend local, as our traders will not have to pay this duty, and we expect our local traders to pass on this benefit to our consumers to ensure that this measure increases sales and stimulates economic activity in Gibraltar.”

The new measures will mean Customs officers will be “actively checking” vehicles and people crossing into Gibraltar via the land frontier and the airport, and Mr Picardo said declaring dutiable goods will be “strictly enforced”.

The Government is working together with the Collector of Customs to facilitate the process of customs’ clearance “to ensure people are able to efficiently and quickly pass through Customs when declaring imports”, Mr Picardo said, adding that more information will be made available in the coming days.

Mr Picardo last week announced in Parliament that import duty on new vehicles will remain at zero for vehicles purchased during the month of July, but would revert to the position before March on August 1.

These new measures have been explained to the heads of the Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses on the position that the Government will be taking in the third quarter.

“Last Thursday in Parliament I outlined the measures we were introducing to support our business community after having consulted with CELAC which of course includes the Chamber of Commerce, the GFSB, and our Unions,” Mr Picardo said.

“I am grateful to them for the Presidents of the Chamber and the GFSB for having come to see me today to hear from me and the Minister for Commerce, Vijay Daryanani, as we announce our Covid-19 measures on Import Duty.”

“These measures, as indeed the entirety of the measures I announced last week are designed to firstly provide financial support to our businesses as they return to work in this difficult climate, and secondly, to stimulate and accelerate economic activity.”

“We have already detailed the many measures supporting business and seeking to reduce or mitigate their costs for the next Quarter, and in some instances until March 31, 2021.”

“Businesses can now predict with some certainty their reduced outgoings over the coming months. This certainty will be good for businesses.”

“Import Duty is one such cost that we have waived in its entirety over the past quarter with a few notable exceptions.”

“I also announced last week that the current exemption in relation to motor vehicles will continue for a further month only. I am pleased that this had led to one fifth of all new vehicles being hybrid or electric.”

Existing charges will continue in respect of commercial imports of fuel, building materials, tobacco and wines, spirits and malts, and disposable single use plastic plates and straws, which are exempted from the waiver.