On 30 December, the National Customs Authority (NCA) announced plans to open new checkpoints in duty-free shopping areas in 2020 with the aim of preventing consumer tax evasion. Officials from the Colon Free Zone Administration (ZLC, for its acronym in Spanish), the country’s main free trade zone, also presented the NCA with a proposal to modify the Single Window for Foreign Trade (VUCE, for its acronym in Spanish) system in order to speed up the procedures required to operate in the free zone. These proposals will be evaluated by the NCA in the next few weeks.
The head of the Customs Prevention and Control Directorate of the Central Zone and Azuero, Carlos Alonso, reported that new checks will be carried out in duty-free zones such as the ZLC or the border of Paso Canoas, in Chiriqui. New registration points will also be installed to encourage people to pay their associated taxes. Those lacking confirmation of the tax payments will be liable to confiscation of their goods and may have to pay fines.
The proposal presented by the FTA delegates aims to modify the VUCE System and promote “integration with other government agencies to facilitate and expedite trade processes.” The VUCE allows companies installed in the free zone and their clients to carry out procedures in the same physical or virtual site, so that they can comply with foreign trade requirements with greater speed.