Accelerating Structural Transformation in Malawi

Export Guidelines

Export Procedures and Documentation

Documentation in export trade is vital in that documents have to be completed before the consignment leaves the country of origin and at the destination to enable the consignee in the importing country to clear the goods through local authorities.

Types of Documents Generally Required by an Exporter

The documents most frequently required for an export shipment are the following but the exporter should remember that they vary depending on the type of goods and market requirements.

Exchange Control – CD1 Form Is an exchange control document form which must be completed for all shipment whose value exceeds US$1,000. Copies are sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Reserve Bank of Malawi. The Reserve Bank will query the exporter at the end of the stated period at which payment was expected to be received to ascertain if such payment has actually been received. If not, then the Reserve Bank demands to know why the payment has not been received. This document is available from the commercial banks.

Form 12 All exports must be cleared through Customs by submission of Form 12. This form is also used for clearing imports. It has replaced Bill of Entry – Form 34 (for exports) and Form 21 (for imports). This form is obtainable from Malawi Revenue Authority.

The Commercial Invoice The Commercial Invoice is completed to enable the importer to clear his goods in his country. It contains the name of the exporter, weight, value and description of goods.

Certificate of Origin The Certificate of origin is completed in the exporting country to authenticate the originality of the goods. It must be duly stamped by the Malawi Revenue Authority before leaving port of dispatch.

GSP form A Malawi being a member of the ACP countries, has to complete the GSP Form A for all its exports to the EU in order to enjoy preferential duties under Everything But Arms arrangement (EBA). The form is issued at a fee by the Malawi Investment and Trade Center.

DA 59 Certificate Exports to the Republic of South Africa must be accompanied by DA 59 Certificate in addition to a certificate of origin. The certificate is issued at a fee by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Form D. The form must be completed for exports to Botswana. Available from the Malawi Revenue Authority Customs Department, it exempts the importers from paying import duties.

Zimbabwe Certificate of Origin Form No. 60 Under the Malawi/Zimbabwe trade agreement exports to Zimbabwe enjoy preferential treatment if accompanied by Zimbabwe certificate of Origin Form 60. The form must be completed and submitted to the Controller of Customs and Excise in Malawi for verification before the goods are exported to Zimbabwe.

 Bill of Lading When goods have been shipped by sea, the Bill of Lading is the most important document. The Air Waybill, in the case of Air Freight, is both the consignment note and the Bill of Lading.

The definition of the Bill of Lading is:

a.     A receipt for goods given to the exporter by the shipping company.

b.     A document of title to the goods described on it.

c.     Evidence of a contract by the company to carry the goods from the port of sailing to the destination. In countries where they have their own sea ports, the Bill of Lading is completed by the exporter himself. But in the case of Malawi, Bills of Lading have to be completed by the port agents at Nacala and Durban.

The Through Bill of Lading This is a Bill of lading normally issued by a clearing agent. The Through Bill of Lading is usually not negotiable at Customs, but counterpart port of destination.

The Consignment Note or Airway Bill An Airway Bill is issued for traffic by air, just as the road or railway consignment could as well be called the Road Way Bill or Rail Way Bill respectively. Like other pre-shipping documents, a consignment note or way bill must bear a Customs stamp in order to be accepted. The carrier (e.g. Central East African Railways and Air Malawi) will not accept a consignment note or Airway Bill which is not stamped by Customs authorities.

Shipping Instructions This document contains shipping instructions from the exporter to his clearing agent (in land or at the port).

The Certificate of Health and Phyto-Sanitary Certificate The certificates may be required by the importing country for animal products and plants and plant products respectively. The Health Certificate in Malawi is issued by the Veterinary Department and the Phytosanitary Certificate by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

Certificate of Fumigation Some products require fumigation before they can be exported. Customs authorities will require this document before passing the entries in commodities such as dried fish.

GSP Form A This document is issued for export of goods to developed countries which are offering preferential treatment to developing countries under Generalized System of Preferences. It is issued for exports to industrialized countries outside the EU and is obtainable at a fee from the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Other Documents from Buyer required by an Exporter apart from the payment documents, an exporter will require the following:

  i.        Import Permit – Trading in some products is controlled worldwide or from country to country. Items such as ivory, hides, ammunition, etc, require import permits in most countries. Import permits are required to control influx of prohibited items and drain of foreign exchange. An exporter will therefore require an import licence from his buyer to be attached to his documents for certification by Customs authorities before shipping the goods.

 ii.        Export Licence/Permit Most of the goods do not require an export licence except a few whose details can be obtained from Ministry of Industry and Trade. The document is completed so that the exporter is allowed to move the goods out of the country. It is used for monitoring purposes.

  iii.        Export Quality Certificate It is issued by the Malawi Bureau of Standards to ensure that some selected products meet minimum quality requirements at the time of exportation.

Contact Information

Export Development Fund
Public Service Pension Trust Fund House, 1st Floor, Plot Number 13/41, Presidential Way Drive Opposite Golden Peacock Office Complex. Lilongwe, Malawi
+265 992 859 129 / 882 415 633

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