Exclusion of electronic purchases from customs exemptions

E-commerce via international platforms has recently experienced exponential growth. The turnover achieved in Morocco by some of these platforms exceeded one billion dirhams in 2021.

Following investigations by the Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxes, it turned out that illegal practices were at the origin of this worrying development. It has also been noted that the consignments dispatched by certain international e-commerce platforms actually consist of operations to import large quantities of goods, under cover of the customs facilities provided for exceptional consignments not of a commercial nature, as well as low value goods.

This situation has led to the emergence of an informal market consisting of the resale of items acquired via international e-commerce sites, using fraud on the declared value of purchases (under-invoicing) or distributing them among several beneficiaries, while the real buyer is the same person, in order to benefit from the customs exemption and to circumvent the control standards related to consumer protection. These practices constitute unfair competition for local industry and formal commerce and a certain loss of earnings for the State and can represent a danger to consumer health.

In order to remedy this situation, the strengthening of customs controls on e-commerce shipments has proved necessary. This is why it was decided to amend the provisions of article 190-e)-2° of decree no. 2-77-862 governing exceptional shipments devoid of any commercial character.

Thus and from 1er July 2022, purchases made through international e-commerce platforms will be excluded from import duty exemption, regardless of value.

It should be noted that this provision does not apply to non-commercial shipments received from abroad whose value does not exceed 1,250 dirhams, which will continue to benefit from customs exemption in accordance with the aforementioned decree.

Finally, it should be emphasized that this measure is in no way intended to undermine the consumer’s freedom to purchase via international trade platforms, but rather aims to protect both the citizen and the local economy.

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