Commonly Used Terms

Authorized Economic Operator

A commercial operator (importer, exporter, transporter etc.) who is given preferential treatment on certain aspects of customs clearance subject to compliance with stringent safety and economic measures.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate which confirms the origin of a product, based on the applicable rules of origin.

Commitment Letter (termo de compromisso")

The commitment letter from the commercial bank (termo de compromisso) is a letter from the bank confirming that the owner of the account has sufficient funds and is authorized to make a particular payment.

Enquiry Point

The enquiry point is a concept in international trade in which countries designate an institution to respond to questions about certain issues related to trade, and the contacts of the institution and of the officials responsible for responding to the questions are made public, in order to facilitate access to information about national requirements and norms.

Fiscal Packing Assistance

Fiscal Packing Assistance consists in the supervision of packing of goods by customs and other relevant entities and the subsequent sealing of the container.

Harmonized System Code

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS" is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).  It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.  The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.


A 'measure', also known as Non-Tariff Measure or NTM, is a specific requirement that applies to a commodity or to certain types of products. Typically a measure could relate to sanitary or phytosanitary regulations (SPS). In these and other cases, permits or licenses may need to be obtained from the relevant government agency prior to importing or exporting the goods.A measure may also be a permanent prohibition to import or export certain products (for example, psychotropic drugs) or a temporary prohibition for health protection or other reasons or to enforce a quota.


This refers to the health of plants and their products, especially the freedom from pests and disease.

Pre-Shipment Inspection

Inspection of goods for valuation and classification purposes in the country of provenance, before being transported to the destination country.


A procedure is an established way of doing things, a series of steps followed in a prescribed order. A procedure is the steps necessary in order to comply with the requirements of a measure. For example, the steps necessary to obtain an Import Certificate from the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development to import live fish constitute a 'procedure.


Isolation of live animals (or in some cases plants) for a determined period of time, to ensure that these are not incubating any disease.

Rules of Origin

Rules of Origin are the requirements used to determine the origin of a product. There are two types of rules of origin - non-preferential and preferential. Non-preferential rules are used for all types of trade policy measures, such as anti-dumping and countervailing measures, trade embargoes, retribution measures, quantitative restrictions, but also for some tariff prices, for commercial prices, for public tenders, origin marking, etc. Preferential rules of origin are required to determine whether imports qualify for preferential treatment (reduced or eliminated duties) under SADC and other trade agreements ratified by Mozambique.


In the context of international trade (e.g. 'sanitary license' or 'sanitary inspection' this refers to health and safety of a product, including live animals as well as products for human consumption.

Single Electronic Window

Electronic platform that allows for the whole process of customs clearance to be carried out online.

Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

Group of countries in Southern Africa that aim, through regional integration, to stimulate regional development, including trade.

Tariff Schedule (or Tariff Book)

A tariff schedule or tariff book is a published list of charges, prices, duties etc., arranged or organized in a particular order, usually following or extending the HS code

Technical Barrier to Trade

A technical barrier to trade is any measure which can create a barrier to trade based on technical regulations or the need to prove conformity with these. Under WTO rules, countries may apply specific technical regulations, which are requirements to ensure safety and security (e.g how products are labelled, produced, what they contain etc.) based on national quality and safety standards, however, these should be notified to the WTO and cannot be used as a way to protect domestic producers.

Trade Agreements

A trade agreement is a wide-ranging taxes, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. It exists when two or more countries agree on terms that helps them trade with each other. The most common trade agreements are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce (or eliminate) tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories.

Trade Facilitation

Trade facilitation concerns how procedures and controls governing the movement of goods across national borders can be improved to reduce cost and shipment time while also improving revenue collection and regulatory enforcement.

Trade Facilitation Agreement

An agreement of the WTO which defines the commitments of all members who ratify the agreement, relating to trade facilitation.


Transit is the regime whereby goods enter the country, cross it, and depart from another border (land, sea or air). A declaration is made to customs on entering and leaving the country, and the goods are considered to be under customs control while crossing the country.

Unique Document ("documento unico")

The documento unico is the document containing all the relevant information for customs about the goods.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

The organization which coordinates trade at an international level.