Tariffs and regulations
Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice.
Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Kazakhstan.
Kazakh customs legislation is quite developed and to a large extent based on the principles of the World Customs Organization. Kazakhstan has been a member of the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus. As a result, the country was required to harmonise its more liberal trade terms with Russia’s more restrictive rules. In some cases, tariffs have increased.
Customs barriers between the three countries were eliminated. The countries adopted unified customs legislation, tariff and non-tariff regulations of importing goods from third countries and free movement of goods of the Customs Union within its territory. Imports from Customs Union countries (Russia and Belarus) to Kazakhstan are exempt from import duties and not subject to customs clearance. The Customs Union establishes various types of customs procedures for customs clearance including temporary import.
Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus created the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU, a political and economic alliance similar to the EU), with the Customs Union becoming an integral part of the new union. Current members of the union are Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan.
Clients are advised to seek advice from Austrade on the impact of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Similar to tax compliance issues, customs issues often require advance planning and proper risk management in the Kazakhstan environment, particularly as rules and requirements can change at short notice.
Goods are classified based on the Customs Tariff of the Customs Union and is generally based on the Harmonised System.
The importation of goods to Kazakhstan under the ‘free circulation’ customs regime generally attracts:
- import VAT at the current rate of 12 per cent
- import customs duties at rates ranging from zero to 80 per cent depending on the classification of a particular imported good
- excise duties in the case of importation of excisable goods such as alcohol.
In addition to import VAT, customs duties, and excise taxes (if applicable), importers/exporters incur a minimum customs processing fee of €50 Euros for the main page of a cargo customs declaration and €20 Euros for each supplemental page of a cargo customs declaration. Import VAT, customs duties, excise taxes and processing fees are payable at customs upon importation of goods to Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan has signed a number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements within the CIS. Trade between the CIS member states is not generally subject to import customs duties in the country of destination, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
- Goods are exported on the basis of a contract between residents of the member states.
- Goods are imported from the customs territory of a member state to the customs territory of the other member state.
- Imported goods may not leave the customs territory of a member state.
- Imported goods are confirmed with a certificate of origin from a member state (i.e., ST-1).
The rates of export customs duties has been approved by the Decree of the Government of Kazakhstan (7 June 2010, No. 520) and vary between 10 and 30 per cent, except for certain goods.
As part of the non-tariff regulations, the Kazakhstan customs legislation prescribes that certain types of imported goods must comply with local quality and technical standards and must have a certificate of conformity to such standards.
Specific restrictions (bans, quotas, licensing, registration, etc.) may apply to the import or export of certain goods, such as uranium, ozonous products, special-purpose hardware, oil products, and weapons.
Product certification, labelling and packaging
A wide range of goods require a certificate of conformity to allow customs clearance. Some of these requirements are mandatory while some are voluntary.
Austrade Moscow can provide detailed information on certification processes and introductions to service providers who can assist. Details should be clearly confirmed with your importer or customer.
The list of products requiring certification includes the following:
- agricultural and foods products
- toys and children’s clothing
- packaged materials
- electrical and telecommunications equipment
- transportation equipment and tools
- pharmaceuticals and healthcare products
- arms, perfumes, and gold and silver jewelry
- construction materials and wood.
The Customs Union/EEU of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan establishes common principles and rules for technical regulations. According to Kazakh’s legislation, imported products of foreign origin must meet quality standards and therefore are subject to certification. By this procedure authorities certify in writing the conformity of products and services to the requirements of national legislation.
Member states of the Customs Union/EEU have established a common system of certification and technical regulations.
Methods of quoting and payment
Quotes in US dollars (or sometimes Euros) are used in all foreign trade operations while domestic payments are made in the local currency (Kazakh tenge or KZT).
All hard currency settlements with Kazakh companies and organisations should be made through authorised Kazakh commercial banks (to the exporter’s bank). Some exporters prefer the customer to make payment from hard currency accounts held offshore in countries such as the UK, US, Switzerland, Cyprus, Luxembourg and others.
An increasing number of Kazakh buyers are demanding flexible payment options, mainly revolving credit lines (Kazakhs do not normally use letters of credit due to high local interest rates). Normal precautions should be exercised but trade finance arrangements in the Kazakh market increasingly reflect international norms. Please see Export Finance Australia if you require advice about trade finance terms in Kazakhstan.
All products sold in Kazakhstan must include relevant information about the product in the Kazakh language. It is also recommended that bulk shipments also contain basic information written in Kazakh. Russian may also be used as an additional language but Kazakh labels are mandatory.
Goods should be securely packed with consideration for the nature of the goods, means of transport and likely climatic conditions. It’s important to take into account the specifics of the Kazakh market, including its often extreme climatic conditions (both hot and cold) and rough handling on roads, railways and ports.
Outer containers should represent the consignee's mark and port mark, and should be numbered (to accord with packing list), unless the contents can be otherwise readily identified. The contract number must be shown on the outside of containers.
Accurate documentation is vital in Kazakhstan. Failure to comply with the documentation specified by your importer/customer can lead to lengthy delays and additional expense.
Registration with the customs authorities is mandatory to carry out import and export operations in Kazakhstan.
In practice, customs clearance can be completed only by Kazakh legal entities and registered non-resident legal entities (e.g. a Kazakhstan branch of a non-resident legal entity). While Kazakh legal entities can undertake their own customs clearance, registered non-resident legal entities must always use a customs broker for customs clearance purposes. (Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, ‘Doing Business in Kazakhstan’).
The customs value is estimated by the declarer. In order to confirm the declared information about customs value, the declarer should provide a package of supporting documents. The list of documents necessary to support the declared information is relatively standard and typically includes:
- shipping documents
- certificate of origin of goods
- necessary licenses and permits
- conformity certificates
- any other documents depending on the specific facts and circumstances.
Kazakh customs authorities carry out strict control over the correctness and reasonableness of determining the customs value and method applied.