Suriname Market Entry
Basic conditions for the use of Czech goods on the market
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
Suriname became a full member of CARICOM in 1995. A common external customs tariff (CET) in the range of 5-25% is in force. Import duties from non-Caricom countries range from 0-40%, average duties are 30-40%. Duty-free import of various types of products is possible under the National Development Incentives Program. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Suriname.
The government provides full or partial exemption from import duties for new business firms. Suriname’s licensing system is antiquated and cumbersome and is effectively a trade barrier. There are no free trade zones in the country. Registration of individual traders, companies and firms is mandatory and is carried out in the Trade Register Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Suriname. Applications for import and export licenses are submitted to this chamber of commerce. Import requirements: To import goods into Suriname, the following documents are required: a valid license of the importer or import company form E-82 (required for the granting of a foreign currency license) – the application is submitted to the Institute for Import, Export and Foreign Exchange Control (Institute for Import, Export and Foreign Exchange Control). An individual or company import license is applied for at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Company Licenses Department, and the application must be supported by: Bill of Lading issued by the shipping company Airway Bill – for air transport, the so-called Document for customs clearance of goods (Single Document) Form E-82 and Single Document are freely available in the public sales network Depending on the type of imported goods, the application must be supported by additional documents: Certificate of Origin Health Certificate – for importing animals and plants, for the import of animals, a separate license is also required from the director of the veterinary inspection, a phytosanitary certificate (Phytosanitary Certificate) – for plants intended for sowing, it must be issued by an authorized organization of the country of origin. Export requirements:
In order to obtain this export license, you need to: submit an application with two copies of a passport photo extract from the birth register declaration of nationality stamps confirmation of payment of license fees confirmation of payment of stamp duty and administrative expenses extract from the commercial register at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry The issuance of an export license takes from one within six months. To open a company in Suriname, a foreign investor needs a special industrial license, the granting of which is decided by the government on a case-by-case basis. There are no special requirements for the percentage of local share or for the equality of shares. There are also no import substitution requirements or export targets. Investors are under no obligation to request the use of employment agencies or consent to technology transfer or the use of local funding sources. Private companies must register with the Chamber of Commerce to open a company in the country. After registration, they can buy and dispose of their property without restrictions.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
The largest economic center and port is the capital Paramaribo. The options for choosing distribution channels are not limited in any way, all forms are possible from sales representatives to direct sales to the end user. Czech exports are realized mainly on the basis of one-off orders from local partners.
Export requirements: For export, an export license is required, granted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for a period of 3 years. In order to obtain this export license, you need to: submit an application with two copies of a passport photo extract from the birth register declaration of nationality stamps confirmation of payment of license fees confirmation of payment of stamp duty and administrative expenses extract from the commercial register at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry The issuance of an export license takes from one within six months. Export license: For export, the exporter needs an export license approved by the Institute for Import, Export and Foreign Exchange Control, supported by relevant export documents (invoice, bill of lading, etc.). This procedure will take several days.
Potential problems: If the exporter has failed to remit export proceeds to the central bank or has failed to comply with the export prices of certain products regulated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the license may be refused. There are no forms of protection of the domestic industry and market that could prevent the free penetration of the production of foreign companies into the market. A certain form of domestic market protection are tariffs applied to strategic industries or their parts. Imports into the country are liberalized.
Marketing and communication
For promotion in Suriname, it is possible to use all the forms provided by the mass media. Advertisements and promotions are most featured in local newspapers and on local radio and television stations.
For the assignment of any promotional event, advertisement, advertisement in HSP, etc., it is recommended to use the services of a local sales representative who knows the environment and mentality in the country and is able, in cooperation with one of the local advertising and promotion agencies, to choose the most suitable forms of action on the market, time and the duration of the advertising spot, etc.
Direct marketing is not common in Suriname. The number of franchise companies is increasing, especially in the field of fast food and tourism services. The promotion can be conducted in Dutch, which is the official language, but also in English, which is widely used.
Issues of intellectual property protection
In practice, there is no protection of intellectual property rights in Suriname. Suriname is officially a member of the following agreements and arrangements for the protection of intellectual property: Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) Hague Convention for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (1925) Nice Agreement for the International Classification of Goods and services for the purposes of trademark registration (1957) Strasbourg Agreement on International Patent Classification (1971) Suriname is also a member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) since 1975, and a member of the WTO. Suriname has not yet ratified the TRIPS Agreement (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights).
The current legal framework, which dates back to 1912–1913, provides only very limited protection for copyrights, trademarks and patents. Related rights related to the copyright area, geographical designation of origin of goods, industrial design, utility models, etc. are not protected at all.
Public procurement market
Public government contracts are generally announced through public tenders with the possibility of participation by national and foreign companies, in the sense of the Contracts Act and the Act on Combating Corruption.
The Surinamese government promotes equal conditions for all participants in the bidding process and, above all, the transparency of all bids.
Public tenders with international participation are announced mainly in the fields of road infrastructure construction, water management, municipal services, etc.
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
In general, it is an effort to resolve business and investment disputes outside the court system. The resolution of these disputes takes several years, while the outcome is highly uncertain and usually favors the Surinamese side. In any case, it is recommended to use the services of local professional law firms. Conciliation proceedings are therefore of particular importance.
There are no limits on foreign currency acquisition. It is recommended to secure an investment, or the claim with a higher form of guarantee, namely a bank guarantee or a bank guarantee, and use forms of securing the supply by exercising the right of ownership until the claim is paid in full, or use the lien. A certain risk for Czech entrepreneurs can be the lack of references for establishing new business contacts, little knowledge of the territory and the limited area and population.
The most used payment term in Suriname is an irrevocable and confirmed letter of credit. It is recommended to request payment in advance for new business contacts. The form of foreign payments by bank transfer is also common, but it is recommended to use it with well-known partners who have proven their creditworthiness in previous business cases. In the case of credit deliveries, it is necessary to require a bank guarantee or aval, despite the fact that the payment behavior of Surinamese partners does not deviate from the customs of the surrounding Latin American countries. However, it is appropriate to pay close attention to ensuring the foreign exchange return of the delivered supplies. There is no knowledge or information that any Czech entity has experienced a financial loss due to non-payment of supplies by Surinamese partners.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic recommends that Czech citizens check with the embassy of the country they are visiting before traveling whether the conditions for entry and stay have not changed.
Citizens of the Czech Republic are subject to a visa requirement when traveling to Suriname.
Since 2019, an online application for applicants for Suriname visas and tourist cards has been in operation at: suriname.vfsevisa.com/suriname/online E-Tourist Card is a simplified form of entry permit for citizens of selected countries (including the Czech Republic) traveling for the purpose of tourism, while the length of stay may not exceed 90 days. To obtain an E-Tourist Card, you must have a passport valid for at least 6 months and pay a fee of USD 54. The visa requirement for citizens of the Czech Republic continues to apply when traveling to Suriname for purposes other than tourism.
For information regarding the requirements and other conditions of the procedure when applying for a visa or residence permit, you should contact the Consulate General of Suriname in Amsterdam.
When arriving in Suriname from countries with yellow fever (e.g. Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela), an international vaccination card confirming vaccination against yellow fever must be presented to the border authorities.
The use of credit cards, except in the major hotels in Paramaribo, is very limited. The situation is similar in the case of bank machines.
Travelers are advised to carry sufficient cash for their trip to Suriname. In most cases, exchange offices only accept USD and EUR.
A valid international driver’s license is required to drive a motor vehicle. In Suriname, driving is on the left, but vehicles with a steering wheel on the left are allowed.
When traveling inland, it is necessary to take into account the movement of livestock and agricultural machinery even on main roads. It is recommended not to use motorcycles or scooters. Suriname is regularly hit by heavy rains that cause widespread flooding. Therefore, it is recommended to check the current climate situation before the trip.
In terms of security, the capital city of Paramaribo and the surrounding area can be a problematic zone. It is possible to encounter thefts, armed robberies and violent crimes.
There is a risk of pickpocketing in shopping centers and places with a greater concentration of people. It is recommended not to wear jewelry or show large amounts of cash in public. It is also advisable to limit movement after dark. The interior is relatively safe, but even here there are cases of theft and assault. The area of the east-west highway in the section Paramaribo – Albina is quite problematic.
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
Working conditions are regulated by the Labor Code, which establishes the rights and obligations of workers in relation to the employer.
When concluding an employment relationship, it is recommended to use the services of law firms specializing in labor law.
For information regarding the requirements and other conditions of the procedure when applying for a visa or residence permit for the purpose of employment, you should contact the Consulate General of Suriname in Amsterdam.
Fairs and events
The largest fair event is the Suriname International Mining, Energy & Petroleum Conference & Exhibition – SURIMEP, focused on the mining industry, energy and oil processing.
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
Common line (police, fire brigade, rescue service): 115
Important web links and contacts
Central Bank: https://www.cbvs.sr/
Statistics Office: https://statistics-suriname.org/nl/
Chamber of Commerce: https://surinamechamber.com/