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A cross-border guide to St. Lucian ecommerce, shipping, and importing goods 


If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into St. Lucia, you’ve come to the right place. In our guide, created by Zonos' cross-border experts, you will find up-to-date duty and tax rates, landed cost breakdown examples, and detailed information on restrictions, trade agreements, required import documentation, and more.

Zonos grade for St. Lucia's ease of importing goods: C 

Ease of doing business2 / 5- Saint Lucia’s foreign relations emphasize reciprocal economic cooperation and trade and investment. The country administers its foreign policy through its membership in regional organizations, including CARICOM.
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) packages are seldom delivered to the consumer's door, which can hurt your business' customer experience.
Landed cost fairness2 / 5- St. Lucia has a high VAT rate, extra fees, and no de minimis, making it more difficult and expensive to import.
- The fees and lack of de minimis is unfavorable for landed cost.
Flexibility of legal regulations2 / 5- Customs is strict about paperwork.
- Inaccurate documents can result in holds and fines.
Availability and accessibility of shipping4 / 5- All major carriers ship to St. Lucia, including DHL Express, FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
- However, St. Lucia is relatively small and remote.
Accessibility and variety of payment methods4 / 5- St. Lucia accepts most forms of ecommerce payment, such as, international credit cards/bank cards.
Market opportunity1 / 5- St. Lucia has an extremely small population, which does not give sellers the potential for high ecommerce success.
- The internet penetration in St. Lucia relative to its population also limits the number of potential customers.

The Zonos grade for this country is based on the scores earned in the above categories.


Key stats for St. Lucia 

Population184,782 (2021)
GDP$2.10 billion USD (2021)
GDP per capita$9,419.27 USD (2021)
Internet penetration56.8% of the population use the internet.
Ecommerce usersPopular ecommerce platforms in St. Lucia are eBay, Shopify, and Magento
Leading product categoriesCrude petroleum, refined petroleum, cars, poultry meat, and petroleum gas
Preferred online payment method(s)International credit cards/bank cards, cash upon delivery, PayPal, and other electronic money transfer services
LanguagesEnglish and Saint Lucian Creole French
CurrencyEast Caribbean Dollar/ XCD/ $

Landed cost for St. Lucia 

Landed cost is the total price of getting a purchase to the customer's door, which includes product price, shipping, duties, taxes, and fees such as currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees.

St. Lucian duty, tax, and de minimis

Further explanation of duty, tax, and de minimis is provided below the table.

Value-added tax (VAT)Average duty rateCustoms feesDuty and tax de minimis

| - Avergae VAT rate: 12.5%

  • Applied to the CIF value of the order. | - General consumption tax (GCT) range: 0-35%
  • Excise duty: Varying rates
  • Applied to the CIF value of the order. | - Customs service charge: 5%
  • Environmental levy: 1.5%
  • Applied to the CIF value of the order. | - Duty de minimis: $0.00
  • Tax de minimis: $0.00Based on the CIF value of the order. |

De minimis value

Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into St. Lucia where the total CIF value of the import exceeds St. Lucia’s minimum value threshold (de minimis). St. Lucia does not have a de minimis, which means duty and tax fees are charged on all imports. The only time goods are exempt from duty and tax is when they receive preferential treatment through trade agreements.

Value-added tax (VAT)

St. Lucia has a wide variation of value-added tax (VAT), which ranges from 0-70%, with an average VAT rate of 12.5% on the CIF value of the order imported.

Import duty

General consumption tax (GCT) has a fairly wide range at which rate it is charged. Anywhere from 0-35% can be charged on the imported goods based on the CIF value of the order. On top of the GCT, there is a customs service charge of 5%. An environmental levy and/or an excise duty can also be charged if those fees are applicable to the imported goods.

The highest import tariffs by their Most-Favored Nation (MFN), CIF value for St. Lucia are as follows:

  • Beer made from malt: 146% per gallon
  • Firearms, parts, and accessories: 70%
  • Maple or cane sugar/syrup: 40%
  • Coconuts, almonds, pistachios: 40%
  • Cut flowers: 40%
  • Nuts and seeds: 40%
  • Precious jewelry stones: 30%

Landed cost example

Below is a sample landed cost breakdown for St. Lucia calculated using Zonos Quoter. Since there is no de minimis, duty and tax will always apply.

Landed cost for a shipment to St. Lucia:

Landed cost example for a shipment above the de minimis value using Zonos Quoter.

Trade agreements

St. Lucia has at least 10 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods made in a participating country. The most prominent of these trade agreements are the CARICOM free trade agreements.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The CARICOM is the Caribbean community, comprised of 15 countries that have formed free trade agreements to facilitate economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equally shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.

What countries are included in CARICOM?

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • The Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad
  • Tobago

St. Lucia gives duty-free access to imports from other CARICOM countries, given that the goods satisfy the rules of origin. Some exceptions are granted duty-free treatment under the safeguard provisions of the CARICOM Treaty, but preferential imported goods still incur the customs service charge.

Additional CARICOM agreements

  • CARIFORUM (The Caribbean Forum)-EU (European Union) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): The duration of the EPA is indefinite and provides exporters of nearly all CARIFORUM-originated goods with duty and quota-free access to the EU market.
  • CARICOM Canada Trade and Development Agreement: CARICAN (Caribbean and Canada agreement) provided duty-free tariff treatment. A new Canada and Caribbean agreement includes coverage of goods that were excluded from coverage under CARICAN, and is a long-term arrangement that ensures CARICOM’s access to the Canadian market.

St. Lucia is a member of the World Trade Organization

St. Lucia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Therefore, St. Lucia must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if a country reduces duties by 10% for one country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will have their duties cut by 10% into that country.


Customs resources 

Customs refund in St. Lucia

Customs refund in St. Lucia

St. Lucia’s Customs authority

St. Lucia - Customs


Shipping and compliance 

Top courier services

  • DHL Express
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • USPS

Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include tracking, insurance, fuel surcharge, remote delivery charge, chain of signature fee, overweight or oversized fee, special handling fee, or dangerous goods fee.

Documentation and paperwork

  • Commercial invoice
  • Air waybill or bill of lading
  • Certificate of Origin (to receive any preferential treatment)
  • Import licenses/import permits (as needed)

Special considerations for clearance

Shipments may require a CARICOM invoice. This is a special invoice used by some Caribbean countries and will be obtained by the consignee by the carrier through the customs website. When required, the shipment cannot clear Customs without this document. A shipment subject to CARICOM is considered a formal entry, and additional fees may apply.

Restricted, prohibited, and controlled items

Many various government agencies may be involved in regulating imports.

Prohibited items

  • Counterfeit currency
  • Food unfit for human consumption
  • Indecent or obscene articles or matter
  • Prepared opium and pipes or other smoking instruments
  • Narcotics
  • Pistol if apparatus capable of firing any kind of shot cartridge
  • Flick knives and blades
  • All publications associated with black magic
  • And more

Restricted items

  • Arms and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Handcuffs
  • Radio and television transmitting equipment
  • Cannabis
  • Tear gas
  • Any goods bearing the Coat of Arms of the Flag of St. Lucia
  • Rare/threatened species of animals and/or plants
  • Chain saws
  • And more

Tips for exporting from St. Lucia 

St. Lucia’s exportation procedure, required documents, and prohibited exports.

Next steps

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  • Decoding Australia- Australia’s growing ecommerce sales and high internet penetration makes it a great country for expanding your online business.

  • Decoding Bermuda- Bermuda welcomes and recognizes the importance of e-business. Find out how you can expand your online business into the expanding economy of Bermuda.

  • Decoding the UK- Find out all you need to know to expand your online business into the third-largest ecommerce market in the world.

FAQ

When did St. Lucia become a member of the WTO (World Trade Organization)?

St. Lucia has been a WTO member since January 1st, 1995.

References