Export Trade Procedures

As an investor it is of paramount importance that you understand the country’s trade policies. This information will assist you to align your import/ export plans operations with the opportunities that are created by the trade policy. Trade policies will clearly spell out areas of emphasis and what the government is doing to promote trade. Trade incentives market access, financing of trade, trade agreements and documentations are available on request at the government’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The focal point of the trade policy is the ministry and you can also get assistance from the chamber of commerce if need be. In Somaliland the government encourages open free trade policy and to encourage foreign investors it provides some tax incentives.

Customs and excise

The Somaliland customs tariff makes use of both specific and ad valorem duty rates which range from 3% to 70%. The average duty is approximately 30%. Higher rates of duty are applied to none essential or luxurious items such as Khat, cigarettes and perfumes.

Harbour tax

There is wharfage fee or due imposed on all goods entering or leaving Somaliland through all maritime ports at the rate of 3% ad valorem (Value Added Tax). These charges being fee for services rendered, is payable on goods imported or exported with the exception of the following;

a. Livestock/pets belonging to a foreign sovereign or head of state under a reciprocity arrangement

b. Samples of goods, provided not directly utilisable

c. Duty except goods imported by state

d. Materials for humanitarian assistance

Certificate Origin

The certificate of origin applicable to the exporter’s consignment depends on the country of destination and on the possibility for it benefiting from any scheme of preferential tariffs.

The purpose is to ascertain` that the animals for export are healthy and of high quality.

Certificate of Health

Most countries require veterinary or sanitary certificates with respect to animals and animal products in order to be in a position to satisfy the buyer. Moreover the certificate of health assures the exporter and the importer that livestock for export are free from diseases and fit for human consumption.

Livestock exporters are required to contact the Ministry of Livestock as regards these certificates. In Somaliland a final clinical inspection is carried at the port quarantine station, which is the only time traders are given an International Certificate of Health prior to shipment.

Movement Permit

Somaliland authorities established a process known as rolling quarantine. The purpose is to make sure that the export animals are healthy. Animals are certified by the Ministry of Livestock after thorough clinical examination supported by limited laboratory diagnosis.

Traders are given Inspection Certificate in various markets and holding grounds after clinical inspection is done by government veterinary officials after which movement Permit to Berbera port are issued.

Export Licences

For any Local and foreign investments there are legal documents required for issuance of export license.

Requirements for licences
• Identity card (national)
• Passport photo copy (foreign resident)
• Original bank statement for 5million Somaliland shillings
• Two passport size photographs
• Fixed assets USD 10,000 or 30 million Somaliland shillings
• Penal certificate issued by the Attorney General’s office
• Tax clearance certificate from the land revenue office
• Chamber of Commerce Registration

• Certificate of registration of the company issued by the Attorney General’s office
• Memorandum and Article of Association of the Company
• Specimen signature of the Chief Executive Officer of the Company
• Licences fee- 2084,000 Somaliland shillings equivalent to US$ 600
• Tax Clearance Certificate form the Land Revenue Office
• Chamber of Commerce Registration.

Clearing and forwarding and shipping agencies license
Local documents required

• Identity Card (National)
• Passport Photo Copy (foreign resident)
• Original Bank Statement for 5 million Somaliland shillings or USD 1,500
• Two passport size photographs
• Fixed assets USD 30,000
• Penal Certificate issued by the Attorney General’s Office
• Tax Clearance Certificate from the Land Revenue Office
• Chamber of Commerce Registration


• Certificate of Registration of the company issued by the Attorney General’s office
• Memorandum and Article of Association
• Specimen signature of the Chief Executive Officer of the company
• Licences fee US$ 200
• Tax clearance certificate form the Land Revenue Office
• Chamber of Commerce Registration.

Safety Standards

There is usually a certification team that inspects animals within the district or those that come from across the borders stationed at the border posts e.g. five at Tog Wajaale and at secondary markets. An Inspection certificate is then issued when no health problems are detected in the markets. Transportion vehicles are checked for overloading and the condition to avoid stress to the animals. Rejected animals are usually treated if the origin is from within the district and sent away when the origin is across the borders.

Examples of conditions that lead to rejection include mange, swollen glands, traumatic or physical injuries, diarrhoea, emaciated cases, foot rot and suspect zoonosis and major transboundary diseases.

The animals are then later transported to the regional veterinary offices where the movement permit is issued after re-possession of the inspection certificate from the border posts. The animals are later transported to the exit port (Berebera). At the port, they are initially received at the holding grounds or disease free zones (DFZs) and rest for a period of 2-4 days depending on the distance covered from the source of the animals. The DFZs have adequate water and feeds. The animals are then counted before certification is issued by the District Veterinary Officer (DVO). The animals are then handed to the PVO who counter checks all the certificates. After this process, clean animals are released by the PVO’s report so that taxations with local authorities, Customs, Chamber of Commerce after issuance of customs letter.

The ship is later inspected for capacity, ventilation, food and water availability. The ship/boats/dhows are disinfected by spraying. The animals are then loaded when the health certificate is issued.


Shipping documents
This is the most likely mode of transport you will use to move your goods to and from Somaliland’s to customers and suppliers located around the world. It is preferred to air transport because it is cheaper and more convenient for heavy and bulky cargo. Marine transport is available at the port of Berbera which serves all cargo originating from and destined to other ports of the world.

To organize marine transport you will need to deal with a shipping agent who connects exporters/importers to the ship carriers that will carry his/her goods. You don’t need to get directly involved as a clearing and forwarding agent can do this for a fee. There are some shipping agents in Somaliland with offices in Hargeisa and Berbera.

The documents required for shipment to/from Somaliland are;

The commercial invoice in triplicate which must contain all necessary information to establish the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value of goods.

A bill of landing or Airway Bill

And in certain instances, health and other special certificates.

The required shipping documents should not accompany ocean freight ships, but should be forwarded by airline to ensure that they reach the consignee prior to the arrival of the goods.

For shipments by the air cargo, the shipping documents may either accompany the goods or be attached to the consignment notes.
The net weight in kilograms must be shown on the invoice or papers accompanying any shipment of goods to Somaliland. In addition, the quality of individual commodities should be indicated in units of measures commonly associated with those goods.