The valuation and classification of products is undertaken by Customs to assess the customs value of imported goods, and establish the tariff rates that apply. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems (HS) was developed to allow countries to classify traded goods on a common basis, and has been adopted by most countries worldwide, including Kenya. The EAC Customs Management Act, Section 122 and the Fourth Schedule of the Act, lay down the procedures for determination of the customs value of imported goods liable to ad valorem import duty.
Kenya and the other Members of the EAC Customs Union, which has been in force since 2005, agreed to establish free trade (zero duty imposed) on goods and services amongst themselves, as well as a Common External Tariff (CET). Therefore, the rules for classification of goods imported into Kenya are based on the CET. When it comes to imported goods liable to ad valorem duty, the determination of value of these goods is outlined in the Fourth Schedule of the EAC Customs Management Act.
Traders can apply for an advanced ruling if they would like to have an assessment of the classification or valuation of goods prior to an import or export transaction. An advanced ruling is an official written decision by Kenya Revenue Authority’s Customs and Border Control that remains valid for a period of 12 months after the date of issuance. Obtaining an advance ruling will increase the predictability of the procedure and allow the trader to anticipate costs. More information on applying for an advance ruling is available here.