Hong Kong is a free port and generally imported goods are not subject to tariffs. However, there is an excise duty on alcoholic liquors. This is prepaid by the seller and included in the price, so it is often unnoticed.
In Hong Kong, Customs and Excise Department enforces the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, Cap. 109, to manage all dutiable commodities and prevent duty evasion.
What are Dutiable Commodities
The Dutiable Commodities Ordinance applies to liquor—
Liquor, such as Shangqing, Moutai, Gao Liang, brandy, whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, champagne, still wine, beer, cider, and ethyl alcohol.
Dutiable commodities are goods that are not duty-exempt and that have not been paid in full by law.
Who Needs a License
Relevant licences issued by Customs and Excise Department are required for:
the import, export or manufacture of dutiable commodities; and
Storage of dutiable commodities that are not duty-exempt and duty-paid.
The type of licenses is Import and Export License for the import and export of specified types of dutiable goods.
Points to Note for Applying for a Dutiable Commodities Licence
A license application must be filed by a company (the applicant) registered with the Hong Kong Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department;
The applicant should appoint a responsible person in charge of the intended activities to be engaged in with the license being applied for;
The person applying on behalf of the company (applicant) must be at least 18 years old;
The responsible person should be a staff member of the company, preferably a Hong Kong resident holding a valid Hong Kong Identity Card, and can be contacted by C&ED in Hong Kong. Otherwise, a Hong Kong resident holding a Hong Kong identity card should be appointed as the second responsible person;
Applicants must show landlord proof of business address or lease agreement;
The appointed responsible person will be invited for an interview before the license is issued; and
Applicants who store large quantities of liquor must hold the relevant License for Storage of Dangerous Goods issued by the Fire Services Department.
How to Apply
Applicants are required to submit applications for new licenses through the Dutiable Commodities System (DCS) at the following website: https://www.dcs.customs.gov.hk.
Where to Apply
License application forms can be obtained from the following Customs and Excise Department office:
Hong Kong Permit Office 2/F, Harbour Building 38 Pier Road Central Hong Kong
The completed application form can be returned in person or by post to the Licence Unit, Office of Dutiable Commodities Administration, Customs and Excise Department, 2/F, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, for processing.
How Applications are Processed
After receiving your license application, the Licence Unit will normally contact you within three working days to make an appointment to inspect the premises or conduct an interview. You will be notified of the outcome within 10 working days of the inspection or interview. License fees cannot be paid until the application has been approved.
Import and Export Licence Annual Fee HK$1,320
For inquiries about Dutiable Commodities License applications, please contact: Senior Clerical Officer (Licence Unit) Office of Dutiable Commodities Administration 7/F, Harbour Building 38 Pier Road Central Hong Kong
Tel: 2852 3260
Tel: (852) 3759 2398
Fax: (852) 2542 4660
Note: If you want to sell liquor for immediate consumption in the premises where liquor is sold, you should apply to the Liquor Licensing Board under the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Please refer here.
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