Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions 2005
Chapter

SURINAME

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2005
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(Position as of December 31, 2004)

Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: June 29, 1978.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyEffective January 1, 2004, the currency of Suriname is the Suriname dollar. Previously, the currency was the Suriname guilder. The conversion between the two currencies is effected at a rate of SRD 1 per Sf 1,000.
Other legal tenderSixteen gold coins are legal tender.
Exchange rate structure
MultipleIn addition to the official exchange rate, there is a commercial bank/cambio rate at which most private sector transactions take place. Special exchange rates of SRD 1.4 per US$1 apply to imports of infant formula and SRD 2.0 per US$1 to imports of milk powder.
Classification
Managed floating with no predetermined path for the exchange rateThe official exchange rate has remained constant at SRD 2.75 per US$1 since January 2004. Effective June 1, 2004, the Central Bank of Suriname (CBS) abolished the ceiling and floor of the market-determined exchange rate that is used for most private transactions. (Previously, the market-determined exchange rate, set by commercial banks and cambios, was subject to a ceiling of SRD 2.8 and a floor of SRD 2.6 per US$1.) Since then, the market exchange rate has moved very closely around the official rate. Based on additional information on the exchange rate policy of the CBS, the exchange rate regime is reclassified effective June 30, 2004, to the category managed floating with no predetermined path for the exchange rate from the category conventional pegged arrangement.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyn.a.
Forward exchange marketNo.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsSettlements in Suriname dollars between Suriname and foreign countries are not permitted; in general, they must be made in specified convertible currencies (Australian dollars, Barbados dollars, Canadian dollars, Eastern Caribbean dollars, euros, Guyana dollars, Japanese yen, Norwegian kroner, Swedish kronor, Swiss francs, Trinidad and Tobago dollars, pounds sterling, and U.S. dollars).
Payments arrangements
Regional arrangementsSuriname is a member of the CARICOM.
Administration of controlThe Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) grants export and import licenses according to a negative list.
The Foreign Exchange Commission (FEC) grants licenses for most external payments other than imports of goods and services, approves foreign loans, and authorizes banks to deal in foreign exchange.
International security restrictionsn.a.
Payments arrears
OfficialPayments arrears owed to Brazil and the United States date back to 2000 and 1993, respectively. In addition, Suriname has arrears with Japan and with two Spanish commercial banks on publicly guaranteed loans dating back to 2003.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeProducers of gold may sell only to authorized gold buyers. Authorized gold buyers are permitted to sell nuggets at freely negotiated prices for industrial and artistic purposes. Dealings between residents in gold bars and other forms of unworked gold, with the exception of nuggets, are prohibited. If local production does not meet industrial demand, the CBS may import some gold. Residents may hold and acquire gold coins in Suriname for numismatic and investment purposes; authorized banks may freely negotiate the sale of gold coins among themselves and with other residents. Residents other than the monetary authorities, producers of gold, and authorized industrial and dental users are not allowed to hold or acquire gold in any form other than nuggets, jewelry, or coins, at home or abroad, without special permission.
Controls on external tradeImports and exports of gold in any form other than jewelry require exchange licenses issued by the FEC. Licenses are not normally granted, except for imports and exports of coins by authorized banks and imports and exports by or on behalf of the monetary authorities, producers of gold, and industrial users. Residents arriving from abroad, however, may bring in gold freely, subject to declaration and provided that they surrender it to the CBS within 20 days. Nonresident travelers may also bring in gold freely, subject to declaration; they may reexport the declared amount freely. Imports of gold coins are dutyfree, and those of unworked gold are subject to a duty of SRD 0.001 a gram, irrespective of origin. The general tariff for gold ornaments is 60% ad valorem. Imports and exports of all forms of gold are subject to a statistical fee of 0.5%; in addition, imports are subject to a licensing fee of 1.5%.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Foreign currencyPersons exporting more than the equivalent of US$10,000 must submit a written declaration.
On imports
Foreign currencyTravelers may bring in up to the equivalent of US$10,000. Larger amounts must be declared. Nonresidents may take out of the country up to the amount they brought in and declared on entry.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedResidents are allowed to open foreign currency accounts with domestic and foreign banks and to hold foreign securities, provided that the funds have not been acquired from sales of real estate in Suriname. Balances in these accounts and holdings of foreign assets may be used freely for transactions other than capital transactions. All transfers between residents and nonresidents must be reported to the CBS for statistical purposes.
Held domesticallyYes.
Held abroadYes.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadn.a.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyn.a.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedNonresidents, whether banks or nonbanks, may open accounts in U.S. dollars with domestic banks with the prior permission of the FEC; no overdrafts are permitted. These accounts may not be credited with Suriname dollars. All current transfers between residents and nonresidents must be reported to the CBS for statistical purposes.
Approval requiredYes.
Domestic currency accountsNonresidents other than banks may open accounts in Suriname dollars freely with domestic banks. Certain debit and credit accounts are covered by a general license, and all others are subject to a specific license. These accounts must not be overdrawn, and, except for certain specified purposes, debits may not exceed a total of SRD 3,000 a month. Authorized banks may open nonresident accounts in Suriname dollars in the name of nonresident banks; these accounts also must not be overdrawn. Authorized banks may open nonresident accounts on behalf of nonresidents drawing pensions from the government or under company-sponsored plans. A special permit is required to transfer pensions abroad. Nonresident accounts in Suriname dollars may not be credited with Suriname banknotes mailed from abroad.
Blocked accountsn.a.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Import licenses used as exchange licensesYes.
Import licenses and other nontariff measuresImport licenses are required, and importers must be registered with the national chamber of commerce.
Negative listImports of the following are prohibited unless a license has been obtained from the president of Suriname: wild animals and plants that are not indigenous to Suriname; pesticides (based on the Fund for Special Operations List of the Inter-American Development Bank); used cars and motorcycles older than five years and buses older than eight years; all chemical and radioactive waste materials; and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Imports of some other items, such as explosives and narcotics, are prohibited for reasons of public policy or health.
Open general licensesYes.
Licenses with quotasGoods subject to quotas include industrial explosives, weapons, fireworks, psychotropic materials not used for medicinal purposes, mercury, pesticides, herbicides, radioactive materials, pets and other domestic animals, nonagricultural plants, used tires, equipment that uses or contains pentachlorphenol or parachlorotoluene gas, and products made from gold or other precious metals that are defined under the Foreign Currency Law of 1947.
Other nontariff measuresImports of certain types of goods require permission from ministries operating under specific acts of parliament, i.e., the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Agriculture, and Forestry and Natural Resources. Importers must obtain certificates of importation issued by the relevant ministry for imports of animals and birds or their eggs; brood eggs; animal parts and products; psychotropic products for human medicinal purposes; medicines for humans and animals; microorganisms for research; waste products; and refrigerators, air conditioners, and equipment containing chlorofluorocarbons.
Import taxes and/or tariffsIn addition to customs duties, a “consent duty” of 1.5% is levied on the c.i.f. value of all imports. A statistical fee of 2% is levied on the c.i.f. value of imports of bauxite companies, and 0.5% of the c.i.f. value of other imports. Suriname applies the fourth phase of the CARICOM CET; as a result, the maximum external tariff rate is 20%.
State import monopolyn.a.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsCertain export companies have received special permission from the FEC to maintain current accounts in foreign currency with their parent companies abroad and to use these for specified payments and receipts (including export proceeds).
Surrender requirementsThe state-owned petroleum company must pay its taxes and dividends in foreign exchange, while the bauxite company must pay only its taxes in this manner.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirements
Letters of creditLicenses are issued if the exports are covered by LCs opened by buyers abroad.
Preshipment inspectionThis is conducted by the Customs Office.
Export licensesExports require licenses issued by the MTI or the Ministry of Agriculture. Licenses are issued by these offices for exports of the following: round timber logs, peeled wood, letterwood, explosives, narcotics, medicinal plants and herbs, and products made from gold or other precious metals not defined under the Foreign Currency Law of 1947. Export licenses for wild animals and plants are granted only by the Director of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries. The export of bamboo is prohibited.
Export taxesExports of processed and semiprocessed wood are subject to a tax of 10% of the f.o.b. value. Exports of bauxite are subject to a statistical fee of 2% of their f.o.b. value, and other exports are subject to a statistical fee of 0.5% of their f.o.b. value.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersAll current transactions between residents and nonresidents must be reported to the CBS for statistical purposes.
Trade-related payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related paymentsTransfers of profits from investments are permitted subject to registration with InvestSur (an institute for the promotion of investments in Suriname).
Prior approvalYes.
Payments for travel
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal paymentsInformation is not available for payments related to medical costs, studies abroad, and family maintenance.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wages
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsThe amount that a repatriating family may take out is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Credit card use abroad
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Restrictions on use of fundsYes.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital transactionsTransactions involving outward remittances of foreign exchange for capital account transactions are subject to FEC approval. Application for a license must be submitted to the FEC at least one month before the intended date for effecting such a transaction.
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsControls apply to all transactions in capital and money market instruments. Subject to certain requirements, residents may purchase or sell in specified countries Surinamese corporate shares that have been designated as negotiable by the FEC.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsControls apply to all these transactions.
Controls on credit operations
Commercial credits
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsBorrowing by nonbanks requires prior approval of the FEC.
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
Controls on direct investment
Outward direct investmentYes.
Inward direct investmentYes.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentTransfers of foreign exchange (including loans) imported by a nonresident entrepreneur for the company’s use are permitted at any time. Also permitted are transfers of capital proceeds from the sale to residents or the liquidation of fully or partly foreign-owned companies or other forms of enterprises established by nonresidents with foreign capital after July 31, 1953.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsResidents may not purchase real estate abroad without FEC permission.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale locally by nonresidentsYes.
Controls on personal capital transactions
Loans
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Gifts, endowments, inheritances, and legacies
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Settlement of debts abroad by immigrantsYes.
Transfer of assets
Transfer abroad by emigrantsThe FEC may allow emigrants (heads of family) to transfer foreign exchange in a lump sum or in regular annual remittances representing the proceeds from the sale of assets held in Suriname. The amounts of these transfers are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Transfer into the country by immigrantsYes.
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsYes.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutionsForeign transactions of authorized banks are restricted, in principle, to those undertaken for the accounts of their customers.
Borrowing abroadAuthorized banks may place abroad in short-term U.S. dollar assets the amounts corresponding to balances in their nonresident U.S. dollar accounts.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeForeign exchange banks may extend foreign exchange loans to residents, subject to specific qualification requirements.
Purchase of locally issued securities denominated in foreign exchangeYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchange
Reserve requirementsYes.
Liquid asset requirementsYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts held by nonresidents
Reserve requirementsYes.
Investment regulations
Abroad by banksYes.
In banks by nonresidentsYes.
Open foreign exchange position limits
On resident assets and liabilitiesYes.
On nonresident assets and liabilitiesYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investors
Limits (max.) on investment portfolio held abroadYes.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsNo.
Changes During 2004
Exchange arrangementJanuary 1. The Suriname dollar replaced the Suriname guilder as the currency of Suriname; the conversion between the two currencies was effected at a rate of SRD 1 per Sf 1,000.
June 1. The ceiling and floor of the market-determined exchange rate (set by commercial banks and cambios) were abolished.
June 30. The exchange rate regime of Suriname was reclassified to the category managed floating with no predetermined path for the exchange rate from the category conventional pegged arrangement.

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