[toggle title=”1. What is TEPA?”]The Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) is a statutory agency established by the Government of Saint Lucia through Act# 16 of 2013, to be the lead agency to spearhead the island’s National Export Development effort. The overall objective of the agency is to increase aggregate volume and value of exports from Saint Lucia.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”2. What are the roles of TEPA?”]The Saint Lucia TEPA works to promote and expand business in export markets around the world. We aspire to increase local exports, to assist local businesses improve profitability and long term sustainability, thus making a direct and valuable contribution to the Saint Lucian economy. We also assist current exporters to increase their export volume and enter new markets; emerging exporters realize their goal of becoming exporters; potential exporters increase production to emerging exporters.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”3. In what areas does TEPA render assistance to exporters/manufacturers? “]TEPA provides technical assistance in the following areas:

  • Export Promotion
  • Product Branding
  • Buyer- Seller Connections
  • Facilitating Trade
  • Transactions
  • Business Counseling
  • Exporter Training/capacity building
  • Trade Information
  • Business Support


[toggle title=”4. Can TEPA assist me in getting a loan from the bank for my project (s)?”]No. TEPA does not operate in such a capacity.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”5. Does TEPA give money directly to beneficiaries?”]There are no direct cash transfers to the beneficiaries. Any assistance provided is delivered through professional consultants and/or service providers to the beneficiary.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”6. Which companies are eligible for TEPA assistance?”]In general companies that are registered and either exporting, ready to export or have the potential to export can receive assistance from TEPA. TEPA will advise and provide assistance based on the stage or level of exporting the beneficiary may be.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”7. How long does it take to get assistance from the TEPA?”]TEPA endeavours to handle all requests for assistance in an expeditious manner. However, implementation times differ based on the initiative, availability of funds and the approvals required.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”8. Do I need a license to export?”]This depends on the product or nature of your export and the market to which you are going to export. Refer to the “Guidelines to doing business with” section of this website for more information. You can also view the “Export Checklist” or get a copy from TEPA office. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”9. Are there other licenses required for specific products and where do I get these?”]Refer to the “Guidelines to doing business with” section of this website for more information. You can also view the “Export Checklist” or get a copy from TEPA office.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”10. What is the basic documentation that is required for exports clearance?”]Depending on the nature of the export, the following documents maybe required to complete an export clearance: Commercial Invoice, Certificate of origin, Pro Forma Invoice, License, Phytosanitary Certificate, Airway Bill/Bill of Lading, Export Packing List.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”11. Are there specific requirements on how goods should be labelled and packed?”]The packaging requirements for export good relies on the standard required in the importing market. Various markets have varying standards based on their laws, values and customs.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”12. Do I require a phytosanitary certificate to export agricultural products?”]A Phytosanitary Certificate is issued by an appointed plant health inspection agency after certifying that a consignment of plant material is free from harmful pests and plant diseases. The agency responsible for phytosanitary inspections in Saint Lucia is the Ministry of Agriculture. As an exporter, you need to obtain information on phytosanitary and other requirements of the importing country to ensure that your products are not rejected for non-compliance.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”13. What happens if I am unable to ship the goods within the agreed time period?”]The implications of this will depend on what is contained in the sales contract between you and your buyer. The sales contract will set out the rights and obligations of the buyer and seller in different circumstances. You can get in touch with your buyer who may agree to a new delivery date.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”14. Do I have to ship my product in a container? Must I ship a full container?”]You do not have to send a full container load. You can send your goods as loose cargo through a consolidator. As the name suggests, consolidators stuff different consignments in the same container for shipping. On reaching its destination, the container is de-stuffed and the different consignments released to the different owners.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”15. As a first time exporter, what do I need to know about exporting my goods? “]Refer to the “Guidelines to doing business with” section of this website for more information. You can also view the “Export Checklist” or get a copy from TEPA office.

  • Tariff number of the item. This will determine the customs duties and taxes to be applied
  • Procedures & Formalities. This is key to overcoming hurdles in the customs clearance in the country of export
  • Trade Barriers. This will assist you the exporter in knowing and overcoming the barriers affecting
  • Your exports
  • Sanitary & Phyto-sanitary Issues. This will inform you of the various certificates (i.e. food safety, plant health) if any, required for your exports
  • Rules of Origin. This area underlines any preference treatments that exist between your country and the exporting country.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”16. What should I consider when making the decision to begin exporting?”]There are many ways to become involved in exporting, from filling orders for domestic buyers (such as export trading companies that then export the product) to exporting products yourself. However you choose to export, the development of a detailed and thorough strategy is an important part of the planning process. Steps in developing a strategy include:

  • Evaluating your product’s export potential
  • Determining if you are really willing to make a commitment to regional/ international markets and evaluating whether your company is “export-ready”
  • Identifying key foreign markets for your products through market research
  • Evaluating distribution and promotional options and establishing an overseas distribution system
  • Determining export prices, payment terms, methods, and techniques
  • Becoming Familiar with shipping methods, export documentation procedures, export financing, and other requirements for exporting.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”17. What is a Harmonized System (HS) code/classification number?”]The Harmonized System Classification is a 6-digit standardized numerical method of classifying traded products. HS numbers are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products for the application of duties and taxes, its import and export admissibility and whether or not the good should be physically examined. The first 6 digits of an HS code indicate the same product description for all 190 countries of the World Customs Organization (an independent intergovernmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium), but that does not mean that the rates of customs duties are the same. There are over 5,000 groups of 6-digit codes. Additional digits are added to the HS number by some governments to further distinguish products in certain categories. The HS code is also used to establish the basic rules of various trade agreements such as NAFTA.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”18. Are there any prohibitions or restrictions on what I can export?”]It is important to be aware that the exportation of certain goods may be prohibited or restricted at any given time. This means that certain goods may not be exported at all, while other goods may be exported only with a valid license and/ or authorization. You should be aware that certain prohibitions and restrictions apply to all goods irrespective of their destination, whilst in the case of others there may not be a difficulty with movement within the respective exporting country.

The following is an illustrative list of the types of products that are prohibited or restricted on exportation.

  1. Agricultural and Food Products;
  2. Cultural artifacts;
  3. Drugs;
  4. Weapons;
  5. Counterfeit or Pirated Goods;
  6. Indecent Articles, Publications, Video Recordings
  7. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)[/toggle]

[toggle title=”19. What Should I know about the country I intend to Export my goods to?”]Before making your first shipment to country “X”, the following must be critically assessed:

  1. Demographics and the distribution of population by age and income
  2. Per capita income, rate of economic growth, stages of economic development
  3. Political stability, rule of law, regulations, ease of doing business
  4. Culture and business practices
  5. Market entry, taxes, duties, import license, inspection etc
  6. Infrastructure, ease of moving products, communication, roads, ports and airports[/toggle]