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Import vehicles into Malawi

Import vehicles into Malawi

Malawi Auto Import Duties

The tariff is Malawi's main trade policy instrument. Its simple average MFN tariff was almost 14% in 2000/01, down from almost 16% in 1997/98 and 21% in 1996/97.Virtually all tariffs are ad valorem. The tariff structure is escalatory, with six bands; rates of zero or 5% apply to "necessities" and of10% to intermediate goods. The maximum duty rate applied to consumer goods was 25% in 2001.

Here is the last known duty structure on import of automobiles. Please double check if it is still valid as all  tarrifs are subject to change.


Cost required to import to Malawi
Displacement Import duty VAT Excise Duty
Up to 1,500cc 25%
of CIF
of CIF
1,501-2,000cc 15% of CIF
2,001-3,000cc 30% of CIF
3,001-4,000cc 45% of CIF

*VAT=Value Added Tax
*CIF=Price with shipping cost

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Malawi Country Info

Thailand top new and used car 4x4 vigo triton exporter to Malawithailand top 4x4 dealer exporter to East AfricaA landlocked country in southeastern Africa, Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) has an area of 118,480 sq km (45,745 sq mi), of which 24,400 sq km (9,420 sq mi) consists of water, chiefly Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Niassa). Comparatively, the area occupied by Malawi is slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania. Malawi extends 853 km (530 mi) N–S and 257 km (160 mi) E–W. It is bounded on the N and E by Tanzania, on the E, S, and SW by Mozambique, and on the W by Zambia, with a total boundary length of 2,881 km (1,790 mi).

Malawi is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).It is a signatory to a bilateral trade agreement with Zimbabwe, and it is negotiating such agreements with Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Malawi's import duties average ??  per cent and range from a low of 2 per cent to a high of 32 per cent.  Malawi also applies other duties and charges such as /service centers in Bissau, although service and parts availability for those models are patchy. Maintenance and repair facilities are limited both in expertise and availability of parts.

Leaded gasoline and diesel fuel are reliably available in the capital and generally available in country’s interior. Because octane ratings are not high, the performance of engines designed for premium gasoline may suffer. Unleaded gasoline is not available, so catalytic converters should be removed before shipping vehicles to Guinea-Bissau. Although diesel fuel and leaded gasoline cost roughly the same amount, better fuel efficiency makes diesel engines more economical and a better choice for up-country travel. Fuel theft is not uncommon, so a lockable gas cap is highly recommended.

Undercoating, undercarriage protection, heavy-duty suspensions, and off-road packages are practical options for Malawi. Tubeless tires can be repaired in the capital city, but inner tubes are recommended for up-country travel. Spare parts can be hard to find. Include in your household effects a good supply of belts, filters, gaskets, hoses, headlights, windshield wipers, fuses, power-steering and brake fluids, spark plugs, a distributor, a condenser, and tires. For up-country travel, bring emergency equipment, such as a strong jack, spare tires, tire pumps, jumper cables, winch or tow ropes, first-aid kit, and racks.

When traveling outside the capital city, four-wheeled drive vehicles are advised because the roads are in disrepair. During the rainy season, many upcountry roads become impassable.

Malawi does not have many paved roads, including those in the capital city. The remainder is constructed of lateritic soils. These roads are often rough, and in poorly drained areas become impassable quagmires during the 6-month rainy season. In addition, the coastal salt air attacks car finishes, radiators, air-conditioning systems, and the chassis. For these reasons, simple, rugged automobiles, rust proofed and undercoated, and with good ground clearance are recommended.

Heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers are mandatory for up-country travel, as is air-conditioning to provide relief from heat, humidity, and dust. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Unleaded gas is not available in Malawi. Catalytic converters must be removed before shipment or after arrival here.

Malawi is a landlocked independent republic with a democratic government. It lies south of Tanzania and to the west of Mozambique and forms part of the Southern African Region. The capital city is Lilongwe. Other major cities are Blantyre and Zomba. The official languages are English and Chichewa.

Malawi's economy is predominantly agricultural. The local currency is the Malawian kwacha. (US$ / M Kw - current exchange rate). The international time zone for Malawi is GMT +2 and the international dialling code is +265. The principal airlines which fly to Malawi are British Airways, Air France, KLM and the national carrier, Air Malawi. A number of regional airlines also serve the country. As at January 1996, most nationals except those of Commonwealth countries, Western European countries, South Africa, the USA and Japan require visas in order to visit Malawi.

Malawi Custom Declaration Form 12

The Malawi Customs Declaration Form 12 is designed based on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) customs document. It is also in line with recommendations by the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations (UN). The form is designed to suit our national interest in terms of, among other things legislation.


The form has replaced the 13 forms that were being used for clearance of goods whether imports, exports, warehousing etc. All the requirements for these have been incorporated into Form 12. However clearance of goods that are in transit through Malawi, e.g. from Mwanza to Chiponde will still be done on the Form 30. This form will also be replaced in the near future.


The provision of the Customs and Excise legislation and the general importation code requires that all goods imported into Malawi for consumption must be cleared on goods declaration Form 12. The only exceptions to this requirement are as follows:

  • Non-merchandise (i.e. personal effects) imported in traveller?s baggage
  • Merchandise (i.e. commercial goods) with a value not exceeding MK30,000.00
  • Postal imports, unless the officer requires that the goods be entered.

The use of Form 49 as an alternative to Form 12 will not be entertained. Form 49 is a receipt for duty paid on consignments, for which a bill of entry is not required. It should be particularly known that all vehicles imported into Malawi, even by private individuals, are required to be cleared on Form 12.


1. Simplifying and harmonizing goods declaring formalities through a uniform approach thereby facilitating trade. On this form, internationally agreed and universally applicable codes for representation are used i.e.

  1. For instance, in 'Means of transport', the code '30' represents 'Road' and the code '40' represents 'Air'
  2. Data elements such as, currencies, countries, packaging type, units of measurements, customs offices, etc. are also represented using codes.

2. Greatly facilitate collection of statistics that is needed by the Government for trade planning purposes.

3. It is user friendly in that whatever clearance one may be undertaking only one type of form is used and the notes on how to complete the form have been included in the Customs Tariff Book which is available at MRA Headquarters and Regional Offices.

4. Has facilitated the implementation of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA)

5. It is helping speed up the clearance of goods when linked with ASYCUDA

6. Reduces burden (cost) and the stock piling of different forms by the trader.


The form may be completed by hand or typewriter. If by hand the writing should be legible, in ink and block capitals.

The form must contain no erasures or overwriting. Any alterations must be made by crossing out the incorrect particulars and adding those required.

It is important though that declarations are accurate and complete to avoid delays.

A declaration must always have a front page and may have many continuation sheets attached to it.

The continuation pages are recognized from the main declaration pages by the words "continuation sheet" at the top of the form. The main declaration form is divided into three segments:

  • The General Segment:

This segment requires information regarding the whole consignment, transport, importer, customs office etc and which relate to every item included on the declaration. This segment also includes the total number of items that are included on the declaration.

  • The Item Segment:

This segment is the first item of the declaration. The segment is repeated for every item in the consignment, which has a different tariff heading, a different customs procedure code or country of origin

  • The Totals Segment:

This segment includes the total for all items included on the declaration and a signature by the person authorized to complete and submit the declaration.


ASYCUDA stands for Automated System for Customs Data. It is a computer program which helps customs officers process customs declarations more efficiently. ASYCUDA is not intended to reduce jobs but to allow Customs officers to use their skills more efficiently. The idea is to enable the customs department to simplify the work involved in the import and export of goods for agents, importers and exporters.

It has simplified the routine Customs procedures (for example, it   automatically checks a Commodity Code, Calculates duty etc). Officers  have more time doing other important work (e.g. mounting of roadblocks, physical examinations and surveillance jobs.

The computer is becoming a tool used by Customs officers in the same way that a carpenter uses a hammer.


Asycuda offers the following functions: -

1. Customs Declaration

It speeds up the processing of declarations. Data is validated during the processing. ASYCUDA checks data input against control files and any invalid data will cause an error message to be displayed and may stop further processing.

When a declaration is finally free of errors, it may be registered or assessed and taxes established.

2. Accounting

It is a cashier's office management system that enables a declaration to be brought to account; the duties and other charges collected and  posted to the correct budget heads. It provides an effective method of Customs Cashier's accounting. It is easy to operate and gives management assurance of the accuracy of the accounts produced.

3. Statistics

For extraction of records to the National Statistical Office.

4. Automatic assignment of declaration to Examining Officers

The ASYCUDA system provides for the automatic assignment of declarations to different examining officers.

It provides a degree of protection against collusion between a Customs officer and a trader. It is also important from a system security, management and operations viewpoint to be able to obtain information from the system about when and by whom certain actions were taken.

5. Control Files

These are tables that hold the data within ASYCUDA. They contain all the coded information used in processing declarations and Accounting.

These are the master files of ASYCUDA system and contain a list of a coded data, for example the customs, tariff and tables of country codes and currencies.



1. The system reinforces customs controls and increases the collection of customs duties.

  • It speeds up clearance of goods and reduces delays.
  • It reduces the work required to produce monthly returns.

N.B.: The system was first  introduced at Chileka airport on July 1, 2000 and thereafter in all major ports. Declarations cleared from non-ASYCUDA offices are entered into the computer for record and statistical purposes after clearance of the goods.



Some procedures have been simplified to suit ASYCUDA. There are functional groups in ASYCUDA, which have been configured so that a group of officers will be allowed to work and access certain menus.

The functional groups are as follows:


It is a point where declarants present their declarations to customs. Officers working in this group ensure that all mandatory boxes have been filled and required documents attached to the declaration. These officers do not require access to computers.


Receives declarations from Face Vet, input Data into the computer (copy information from the declarations to computer)

If the computer rejects the information the declaration cannot be registered. Query sheet must be completed and sent to the query Desk. When successfully entered into the computer, the declaration will be passed to the verification officer. The Registered Declaration will be allocated to a named verification officer by the computer.


  • Receive declarations from the Data input officer
  • Check that the information declared on Form 12 and the declaration printout is correct and in accordance with the supporting documents and conditions governing the applicable Customs Procedure Code.


  • Receive from other officers all declarations which have a problem or error
  • They are responsible for all queries concerning declarations
  • Handle queries until after resolution
  • Pass the declarations to the assessment officer

These officers will be the only contact between the members of the public and the Customs staff and will have access to computers


It is the final stage of the declaration approval process, Counter checking the Declarations received from verification officers,  Input assessment message into computer so that an assessment notice is printed which contains the accounting information necessary for the Declaration to make payments.


  • To manage the staff in Face Vet and Data Input declaration processing area
  • Update the list of verification officers held by the computer each day
  • This process has to be done at the start of each day or shift
  • Oversee the queries and examination of goods.


  • Deals with requests for physical examination of goods


  • Receives monies from Declarants for payment of import duty, excise duty, surtax duty and other charges
  • Reconciles monies received with daybooks
  • Issues computer generated receipts and release notes.


  • Receives all monies from the cashiers
  • Closes cash account at the end of each day.


Regional Agreements

The Common Market for East and Southern Africa

The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) has been operating, in one form or another, since 1981.  COMESA aims to promote economic integration via the removal of barriers to trade and investment among COMESA member states. Moreover, COMESA aims to advocate for infrastructure development, and development in science and technology. Economic integration is envisaged to progress from the Free Trade Area (FTA) to an economic monetary union. The FTA became operational on 1st November 2000 with nine participating countries initially. The nine member countries that are implementing zero tariffs are Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  However in January 2004, Burundi and Rwanda joined the FTA, bringing the total number of participating countries to eleven.  

The COMESA FTA is an agreement among members not to apply customs duties or charges on goods traded amongst themselves.  The eligible goods for duty-free treatment must meet the agreed upon Rules of Origin.  Members also agree to eliminate all non-tariff barriers to trade between them.

A COMSEA Certificate of Origin is required for each consignment of goods and is obtained from the Revenue Authority in respective member countries. 

The Southern Africa Development Community

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) aims to promote regional integration and sustainable development in the regional community.

Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), comprising 14 countries, signed a Trade Protocol, which calls for the implementation of a Free Trade Area.  Each country has negotiated two reduced tariff schedules.  One schedule is applicable only for South Africa, and another schedule for all other SADC members. Zambia's implementation of her offer, effective 30th April 2001, is provided to those countries that provide Zambia with the SADC reduced tariff schedule. 

The reduction of tariffs to South Africa provide for delayed liberalization, while the schedule to other members provide for broader and faster access to the South Africa market.  The tariff schedule applicable to SADC members, with the exception of South Africa, has three categories.  Category A products are those products which go to zero-duty immediately upon implementation.  The tariff for Category B products gradually goes down to zero-duty over a period of eight years, and the tariff of Category C products reaches zero-duty twelve years after implementation.  Category C products are known as sensitive products, and include for Zambia meat and dairy products, tea, some flours, raw sugar, cement, textiles and clothing, and motor vehicles.

Plans are currently underway to establish a Free Trade Agreement by 2008, and a SADC Customs Union by 2010.

A SADC Certificate of Origin is required for each consignment of goods and is obtained from the Revenue Authority. 


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