Chapter

BELIZE

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2000
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Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: June 14, 1983.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Belize is the Belize dollar.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Conventional pegged arrangementThe Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar, the intervention currency, at the rate of BZ$1 per US$0.5. The Central Bank of Belize (CBB) quotes daily rates for the Canadian dollar, the pound sterling, and a number of currencies of CARICOM member countries.
Exchange taxA stamp duty of 1.25% is levied on all conversions from the Belize dollar to a foreign currency.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketNo.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsNo.
Payment arrangements
Regional arrangementsBelize is a member of CARICOM.
Clearing agreementsBelize participates in the CMCF.
Administration of controlThe CBB is responsible for administering exchange control, which applies to all countries. Authority covering a wide range of operations is delegated to the commercial banks in their capacity as authorized dealers. Only in exceptional cases or in applications involving substantial amounts is reference made directly to the CBB. However, all applications for foreign exchange processed by authorized dealers are regularly forwarded to the CBB for audit and record keeping.
International security restrictionsNo.
Payment arrearsNo.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeResidents may not hold gold except with specific authorization from the CBB.
Controls on external tradeGold may not be imported or exported without the approval of the CBB.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyEach traveler may take abroad up to BZ$100. Amounts beyond this limit require the approval of the CBB, which is liberally granted when justified.
Foreign currencyThe amount of foreign currency that each resident traveler may take abroad is left to the discretion of the commercial banks. It is subject to availability and guided by limits. Nonresidents may take out up to the amount imported or the limits specified.
On imports
Domestic currencyEach traveler may bring in up to BZ$100.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedThese accounts may be opened both domestically and abroad, but approval is required.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyNo.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedBanks must have permission from the CBB to open external or foreign currency accounts.
Domestic currency accountsThese accounts may be credited with proceeds from the sale of foreign currency.
Convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Blocked accountsThe CBB may stipulate that sums to be credited or paid to foreign residents be credited to a blocked account.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetYes.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for importsPrepayments for imports require authorization from the CBB; in most cases, such authorization is delegated to the commercial banks. The CBB rations its sales of foreign exchange to commercial banks on an ad hoc basis, except for a few essential import items, such as fuel and Pharmaceutical s.
Letters of creditYes.
Import licenses and other nontariff measures
Negative listFor reasons of health, standardization, and protection of domestic industries, import licenses from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are required for a number of goods—mostly food and agricultural products, and certain household and construction products; such licenses are liberally granted.
Import taxes and/or tariffsImport tariff rates range from 5% to 25%, with a number of items (particularly agricultural inputs) entering duty free. Imports by most of the public sector and certain nonprofit entities, imports of an emergency or humanitarian nature, and goods for reexport are exempt from import duties; goods originating from the CARICOM area are also exempt. Some items are subject to revenue replacement duties ranging from 15% to 25%. Specific duties and surcharges apply to certain products. On June 30, 1999, the 15% VAT was replaced with a sales tax of 12% on alcohol, tobacco, and fuel, and 8% for all other goods and services, except exempt goods and services. On January 1, 2000, the fourth phase of the CARICOM CET came into effect.
State import monopolyNo.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsExport proceeds must be surrendered to authorized dealers not later than six months after the date of shipment, unless otherwise directed by the CBB. The CBB makes direct purchases of sugar export proceeds, bypassing the traditional practice of purchasing from commercial banks.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirementsNo.
Export licensesExport licenses are required for live animals, excluding pets; fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, excluding agricultural species; lumber and logs; beans; citrus fruits; and sugar.
Without quotasYes.
Export taxesEffective June 30, 1999, transshipments are subject to a 1.5% customs administration fee.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersThe CBB rations its sale of foreign exchange for invisible payments to commercial banks on an ad hoc basis, except for a few essential items, such as insurance.
Trade-related paymentsThere are controls on the payment of commissions.
Prior approvalFor the payment and transfer of commissions, approval is granted by the CBB, subject to clearance by the Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT).
Investment-related paymentsInformation is not available on the payment of amortization of loans or depreciation of direct investments.
Prior approvalFor interest payments, approval is granted by the CBB, subject to clearance by the CIT. For transfer of profits and dividends, an income statement and a declaration of dividends must be presented along with clearance from the CIT.
Payments for travel
Quantitative limitsThe following limits are in effect: (1) for nonbusiness travel by residents, up to BZ$5,000 a person a trip; (2) for business travel by residents, BZ$500 a person a day, up to a maximum of BZ$20,000 a year; (3) for business or nonbusiness travel by nonresidents, BZ$500 a person a year, unless payment is made from an external account or from proceeds of foreign currency. Resident travelers are required to sell their excess holdings of foreign currencies to an authorized dealer upon returning to Belize.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal paymentsPayments related to medical costs are made directly to a doctor or hospital with original invoices or bills supporting the application.
Prior approvalFor transfer of pension and payments for family maintenance and alimony, approval by the CBB is required.
Quantitative limitsThe limit for gifts is BZ$100 a donor.
Indicative limits/bona fide testForeign exchange is provided by authorized dealers for payment of correspondence courses when applications are properly documented.
Foreign workers’ wages
Prior approvalApproval is granted by the CBB, subject to clearance by the CIT.
Other payments
Prior approvalFor the transfer of consulting and legal fees, approval is granted by the CBB, subject to clearance by the CIT.
Indicative limits/bona fide testSimilar requirements apply for subscriptions and membership fees as for study abroad.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsProceeds must be sold to an authorized dealer.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsAll capital transfers require the approval of the CBB, but controls are liberally administered.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsThere are controls on all these transactions.
Controls on credit operationsThere are controls on all these transactions.
Controls on direct investment
Out ward direct investmentYes.
Inward direct investmentInward direct investment must be registered with the CBB if the profits are to be repatriated in the future.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentRepatriation of proceeds requires clearance by the CIT.
Controls on real estate transactionsThere are controls on all these transactions.
Controls on personal capital movementsn.a.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadYes.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeYes.
Purchase of locally issued securities denominated in foreign exchangeYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investorsNo.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsNo.
Changes During 1999
Imports and import paymentsJune 30. The 15% VAT was replaced with a sales tax of 12% on alcohol, tobacco, and fuel, and 8% for all other goods and services, except exempt goods and services.
Exports and export proceedsJune 30. Transshipments are subject to a 1.5% customs administration fee.
Changes During 2000
Imports and import paymentsJanuary 1. The fourth phase of the CARICOM CET came into effect.

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