Exporting US Liquidation Pallets into Bolivia

Globalization has made sure every business is given a chance to expand beyond its local borders. The internet has brought this change forward very fast and enabled customer from all over the world to access resources and order merchandise from any corner of the world. This provides good opportunities for liquidation businesses. Traditionally, liquidated merchandise would be sold from the company’s warehouse, but as the sales moved online, orders started being placed from the comfort of one’s home. This, in turn, prompted the liquidation companies to set up better websites and also saw the creation of liquidation platforms that served as a bridge between manufacturers and retailers and the end customer interested in purchasing cheap wholesale merchandise to resell. This development expanded the reach of every retailer and manufacturer looking to liquidate customer returned merchandise or any other merchandise as quickly as possible.

The expanded reach meant customers outside of the United States are able to view and order US liquidated merchandise. While shipping single items might not be an issue, exporting pallets of US liquidated merchandise has to be handled carefully due to export and import laws, especially if you plan on exporting merchandise to Bolivia.

While this might be a complicated process, reaping the benefits of market expansion, and tapping into a new market makes the effort worth it. This article is not a strict guide, but it will provide you with directions to the steps you need to take in order to export your products to Bolivia without issues.

Exporting US Goods into Bolivia

Before actually shipping the products to Bolivia, there are a few preparatory steps that you need to take to make sure that you are doing everything right. One such step is to research the Bolivian market and understanding the market conditions. It is also essential that you find the right local partner to facilitate your entering into the Bolivian market. For this, we advise you to contact the Bolivian authorities and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, who can help you in negotiating potential obstacles and finding the right partner.

Now, before shipping a pallet or a lot to Bolivia, there are some other steps you need to take. There are a number of documents you have to prepare even before packing up the merchandise. So first you need to make sure you have all the right documents ready. The most common of these documents is the commercial invoice. This is basically a bill you as a seller deliver to the buyer. However, in terms of international sales, these invoices are often used by importing country’s authorities to determine the value of the merchandise and assess customs duties accordingly.

There is another type of invoice, called a pro forma invoice, which is delivered to the buyer by the seller, even before the merchandise is shipped. It can serve as a quotation of sorts as it includes the price and specs of the merchandise about to be exported.

You should also always provide the export packing list. This list describes in detail the seller, the buyer, the shipping company, your invoice number, the date of shipment, what mode of transport you are using and every other detail about the merchandise you are exporting. It goes into the number of products, the type of products, the type of packaging, the size together with the exact description of each product. This document is often used when checking the cargo.  

While these are export documents, you will have to cover the transport aspect of the export procedure as well. This means obtaining adequate transportation documents that include the bill of lading, a document that serves as a contract between the owner of the merchandise and the carrier. There are two types of bills. One is the straight bill of lading, which can’t be negotiated, while a liner bill of lading can be negotiated and traded while the merchandise is still in transit. When taking possession of the merchandise, the owner has to provide the original negotiable bill of lading as proof. If you are exporting your merchandise via an airline you will need an Air Waybill. These are specific to each shipping company.

Probably the most common of all the exportation documents is the electronic export information filing, or shipper’s export declaration, as it was formerly known. This document is mandatory for all shipments exceeding $2,500 in value as well as those exports that require specific export licenses. This filing is completed online via a Census and Customs free service called the AESDirect.

These are the most common export documents, but as mentioned, you might be required to provide specific permits issued by the government. Some countries also require you to provide a certificate of origin.

Once these documents are acquired and provided, you will have to look into the requirements once the merchandise reaches the Bolivian soil and what tariffs and potential obstacles you might be faced with.

Tariffs and Restrictions When Importing into Bolivia

Bolivia is part of the Andean Community (CAN) together with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and is also an associate member of the Common Market of the South (Mercado Común del Sur, or MERCOSUR) which includes Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Full members of the group include Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

When importing merchandise into Bolivia, you will be required to provide the usual transportation documents, like the invoice, bill of lading, proof of insurance, transportation invoice, and the export packing list. You might also need a certificate of origin as well as other specific certificates, depending on the merchandise you are importing.

Over the years, tariffs on goods imported into Bolivia were split into various categories, ranging from 0-5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent,  20 percent and even up to 35 percent of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value. From 2012, Bolivia has imposed tariffs of 30 to 40 percent on imported goods that compete with locally produced items.  A list of specific tariffs for a variety of products has been provided by the National Customs Office (Aduana Nacional).

In addition to the tariffs, Bolivian import charges include domestic taxes, administered by the Bolivian Tax Authority, boosting the total fees. The value-added tax (VAT) is 13.3 percent in Bolivia; however, certain customs fees bring this up to 14.94 percent. If you plan on importing luxury merchandise, you will have to pay Specific Consumption Tax (ICE). If you are importing into Bolivia, you are required to hire a broker. The broker’s fees are calculated at certain percentages in relation to the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value, ranging from 2 percent for imports valued at $1 to $10,000 and 0.5 percent for goods valued above $100,001.

As Bolivia is landlocked, the country imports goods through Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean, Paraguayan and Peruvian ports. It has warehouses in Chilean ports that provide storage for up to 90 days with fees at 0.5 percent of CIF value for each 30-day period. An additional 2 percent charge on CIF value is added if the importer fails to pick up the merchandise from the warehouse within eight days of receiving the clearing documents.

While there are no specific restrictions on importing merchandise into Bolivia, there are some rules and regulations to keep in mind. If you plan on exporting or importing vehicles you have to know that you can do so only for vehicles less than a year old, and you can’t import a diesel-powered vehicle with an engine less with than 4,000 cubic meters. On a positive note, since 2008, import tariffs on live bovine animals, fresh bovine meat, fresh, frozen and refrigerated chicken meat, wheat and wheat flour, corn, rice, and vegetable oil, have been eliminated.

What might be more interesting for someone engaged in purchasing liquidated merchandise such as clothing for resale end export into Bolivia, is that in 2004 Bolivia banned the import of certain types of used clothing. These include old or damaged apparel articles, used bedding and intimate apparel, old shoes, and certain damaged textile articles, including rags, cords, string, and rope. In 2007, it completely banned imports of used clothing; however, used clothing keeps being imported into the country.

Under the latest government decree from May 2016, the government decided to protect its domestic clothing industry and put in place regulations that delay imports of merchandise into the country. Most affected products out of the 400 in total are clothing and shoes. However, in practice, this regulation only delays the import for a period of up to two months.

What is Liquidation Merchandise?

US produced merchandise has built up the reputation of being the best value for your money. Liquidation merchandise, if you work with reputable companies, can provide you with US merchandise at an even lower price.

But what exactly is liquidated merchandise? Sometimes merchandise, especially if purchased online, gets returned to the retailer. Reasons may vary. Customers can return products due to damage sustained in transit, or maybe the seller shipped the wrong item, or the buyer changed their mind. Sometimes the buyer will use the product, get bored or simply decide they don’t want it anymore and return it within the agreed timeframe. You will be able to find merchandise in all sorts of conditions.


Once it is received back, retailers can’t put them up for sale through their storefront, but have to liquidate the merchandise either through liquidation companies or platforms. This allows them to pack merchandise up in pallets and sell them to a wider audience. Bear in mind that not all liquidated merchandise is used or customer returned merchandise. When retailers need to empty shelf space for new collections, items that remained unsold are liquidated as closeout merchandise. Sometimes products don’t even make it to the shelves and are sold as overstock. Basically, these two types of products are brand new and have a higher appeal and resale value.

What is the Best Liquidated Merchandise?

Deciding what the best type of liquidated merchandise depends solely on your requirements. If you are looking to sell new and unused items, overstock and closeouts are the products that you should look for. If your customer base has a lower buying power, or you sell merchandise at a flea market, you might be interested in unsorted customer returned products or items that have been tested but not working so that you can combine working parts into fully functioning units you can sell at the flea market. In any case, the decision depends on you.

How Does a Liquidation Resale Business Tackle Quality Issues?

As noted above, liquidated merchandise comes in all shapes, sizes and conditions. It has to be said that the majority of liquidated merchandise is customer returns, unsorted customer returns and tested but not working merchandise. However, there are ways you as a buyer can increase your chances of buying quality products. Prior to ordering and paying for a pallet of US liquidated merchandise to import into Bolivia, it is best to research available resources and compare liquidation companies as well as their services, offering and prices. Your top picks should be the most reputable liquidation companies.

In order to provide top services and products, top-tier liquidation companies form ties with top retailers and manufacturers. This way, a top liquidation company like Direct Liquidation serves as a platform for a top retailer like Walmart to liquidate its merchandise. Combining these two names is a sort of guarantee on its own. In addition, top liquidation companies have a mechanism that gives you control over the products you buy, similar to the export packing list. This is called a manifest, a list of products contained within a pallet, showing the type, quantity and the condition of each product. If your source is withholding information about products, it is best to leave that source behind.

While this article provides the guidelines for exporting and importing US liquidation merchandise into Bolivia, you should always check with customs and relevant local authorities to make sure you are following the procedure correctly.

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Diego Medina F

Diego works as a sales representative for Direct Liquidation helping businesses to source liquidation inventory from the world’s top retailers and manufacturers. Diego works with single pallet, LTL and truckload buyers directly to ensure they stay in stock with high quality inventory year round.

Schedule a sales callback with Diego right now and find out how he can help your business profit with liquidation merchandise.