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Old 26 Apr 2013
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Selling a foreign bike in the Iquique Free Trade Zone (Zofri)

Well, before you all get excited, I haven't sold my bike in Iquique, and it's not even clear to me that this can be done. But I did spend half a day today having a go, more out of curiosity than necessity. So here are some notes to save you wasting that half day. Maybe they help you get over the line, but maybe this is actually impossible.

First off, what is the Free Trade Zone? It's a little island inside Iquique where stuff can be traded without paying and VAT or import duties. It's run by Zofri, and there's basically two bits to it - a giant shopping mall and a warehouse area where there's all sorts of stuff going on. It's basically like China town - and there's little companies specialising in importing all sorts of stuff from thermos flasks to lightbulbs.

As far as I have been able to figure out however, VAT and import duty ARE due when goods leave the Free Trade Zone and enter Chile proper as far as the law is concerned. So all that stuff you see in the Free Trade Zone has not actually entered Chile just yet.

As an aside, this is worth seeing - my 2 hours riding up and down it were fascinating if experiencing the cold hard face of free trade and globalisation is your thing, I highly recommend checking out Zofri if you're passing through Iquique.

What does this mean in practice? First off, my Spanish is not that good and some of the bits that I "understood" are plain contradictory. BUT. The Aduana man explained to me that I can entirely legally sell my bike inside the Free Trade Zone. Basically you can unstaple your passport from the bike when you enter the Free Trade Zone (it's as if you exit Chile) then get a notary inside the FTZ to do the selling paperwork and it's all legal.

However, the Aduana man also explained that whoever buys your bike can't do much with it - as it's a second hand vehicle, by Chilean law it's forbidden to import it, and so therefore you're unlikely to find a buyer for it. When the buyer tries to take the bike out of the FTZ he will need to get a TVIP.

This is in plain contradiction of my ride in and next to the Free Trade Zone where there are 100s (and I mean 100s) of import companies selling what looked to me like second hand import cars - I can't square these two.

Armed with this info, I found an importer of motorbikes inside the FTZ and went to ask them if they want to buy - they said they only import Chinese bikes and so weren't interested.

I also found a very kind Japanese chap next to the FTZ who specialises in importing large bikes from Japan. He spent half an hour chatting with me in Spanish and I honestly can't say I understood that much of it, but basically he said that in 30 years of importing (he has someone source locally in Japan for him and then put on a boat) he's never bought a bike off a foreigner inside Chile. He said the problem was that if he buys the bike and later has a problem with the paperwork the Aduana just confiscate the vehicle and that's not a risk he's willing to take.

Having said all that, I did have a couple of other leads I couldn't be bothered following up on which were people saying "call me" for the bike - maybe they would have yielded something.

To give you an idea of prices, the nice Japanese man was selling a 2003 BMW1150 with 11k km on the clock for US7.5k and he seemed to think a fair price for my 2011 V Strom 650 with 25k km would be around US6.5-7k.

If I was spending more time doing this I would plaster "Se vende, year, model mileage and price" all over the bike and drive around the Free Trade Zone. I suspect you'll get a lot of interest, but not clear if it's the sort of interest that can end up in a transaction - the Chilenos all go crazy when they see a big bike, but I think that's more curiosity than actual interest in transacting.

Hopefully useful....
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Old 3 Dec 2013
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terribly enlighting

thanks mate for the information. Your bad news made clear what I was wondering for longer than a year.

So you can sell any vehicle within the Zofri but cannot get it out without importing it...and used vehicles are not sellable.

What was the Japanese guy gonna do with the bikes? Can he sell them in anywhere?
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Old 3 Dec 2013
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My question would be:
Could a foreigner (non Chilean) buy a bike "in the zone" from another foreigner? Then, can that buyer transit OUT of "the zone", get a TVIP (in his name) and move in transit through and out of Chile as a tourist? If the seller were present to verify the sale ... would the buyer have to pay fees even though the bike is only "transiting" through Chile?

Seems to me the buyer would still have the problem of not having a Title (pink slip/log book) that had his name on it. So how would he deal with that at the next border?

Seems to me ... the seller would have to contact his local DMV (in USA) and sell his bike to buyer, then send the new paperwork (title) to the new owner. But what about the original TVIP that still shows the seller as legal owner?
I assume Chilian Aduana would cancel that TVIP and issue a new one to new owner?

Sounds like Photo Shop is still the only way to pull any of this off.
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Old 3 Dec 2013
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Zofri Iquique Free Trade Zone

Thank you s445203, one of the reasons, perhaps the reason, I continue to read and contribute to Horizonsunlimited.com is to avail myself of the posts of over landers like you. Thank you.

Elisa taught in Iquique for a semester, at a well known university , and met and made friends other professors and many students. Together we returned to Iquique and were warmly received by her old friends. More recently, we rode to Chile to support her best friend during the very difficult time before the death of her Mother. So thank you s445203 for taking the time, and even with your limited Spanish, sharing what you know to be true regarding the Free Trade Zone.

As for you Mollydog, please consider that the Chilean people deserve more, much more than to be ripped off by suggestions of "Photo Shop" for the illegal transfer of title of motor vehicles. There are reasons, and very good reasons for the Chilean law regarding the transfer of vehicle titles and especially the law that prohibits the transfer of title of a vehicle entered into Chile on a TVIP.

Have you no consideration for the law? Have you not considered the FACT that if a "photo Shopped" motor vehicle/motorcycle was involved in an accident with property damage or personal injury that the first, ...the very first check that would be undertaken by the insurance company insuring the bike would be to see if the bike was legal, and if discovered that the transfer of title was the result of "Photo Shop" would notify the police and would not be in any way liable for the damages because of the illegal transfer of title of the bike. The Police would then file criminal complaints against the illegal owner of the bike - as this would get the insurance company off the hook for damages...

Mollydog.....What are you thinking?

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Old 4 Dec 2013
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I see no possible harm coming to "the Chilean people" from a transfer of a foreign bike, not based in Chile, never sold in Chile and which is legally taxed, insured and registered in it's home country and has a current TVIP for Chile.

If a buyer "fiddled" the title or TVIP but then insured the bike based on that "new" information, I don't see the insurance company having a problem as long as premium has been paid and new owner is the policy holder and can present title when buying said insurance policy. Insurance companies don't do title histories ... why would they?

And last I checked ... Chilean transito Police are not experts on Foreign Titles or Log Books either. If everything matches up ... that's it. Good to go. Everyone is covered.

The fact is that stupidly complex rules are in place that impede the free flow of commerce and limiting a travelers options ... it's this that really hurts the Chilean people most of all.

It discourages moto tourism and drives tourists elsewhere. Like the borders in Cent. America: Thousands just "go around" rather than run that gauntlet of corruption and insanity ... or they blast through in a day ... and vow not to spend even on dime there.

Allowing true duty free sales ... and making it easy for tourists, charging very reasonable fees, could be a boon to Chile's tourist economy. (but I doubt they could organize it properly ... never happen ... too many selfish interests at play)

If you'll note, I also suggested that the seller would have the option to process the sale of his vehicle through his local home country DMV (or equivalent) and transfer title to the buyer. That makes it legal.

In California ... this can all be done via mail, no need to show up at DMV. I'm sure other agencies are similar. But what is legal is EU or USA does not necessarily make it legal in Chile. Better to try a couple $20 bills instead.

I would agree with paying Chilean import & sales tax on a sale IF:
1. Bikes where to be permanently imported into Chile.
2. They were Chilean based bikes being re-sold (sales tax) to permanent resident of Chile.

A foreigner in transit should not have to pay import duties or sales tax if leaving the country within a certain period of time. No idea what Chilean law says about this point but seems fair to me.

But in the case of foreign TVIP registered bikes in transit, owned and sold by NON residents ... IMHO ... it's NONE of Chile's business what happens with these bike as long as TVIP fees have been paid, bike is insured and owner has not overstayed Visa. These bikes are not even officially in Chile ... they are temporarily there ... basically in transit.

IMHO, this sort of sale should be done between buyer and seller only ... they don't really need a Free Trade Zone at all.

But obviously the current arcane and counterproductive rules will continue ... do they still use 5 sheets of carbon paper for everything? Computers?
Sounds dangerous to me! !Copias! !Mas Copias!
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Old 4 Dec 2013
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Foreign bike transfer of title in Chile

Mollydog, you have your interpretation of the law regarding the sale of foreign registered bikes entered into Chile on a TVIP. But, you are not the one to say if an insurance company will do a title check or not..... It has been my experience that all insurance companies faced with the payout of liabilities will do a title check. The reason why is .... drum beat here please....insurance companies will only pay liabilities if they are legally libel. The fine print on all motor vehicle insurance policiesl state that the insurance is provided for a legally titled and registered motor vehicle and if the operator has a legal operator's license.

I have attempted to get released from jail more than one foreigner who, thought he legally purchased insurance, but was informed by the insurance company, after a severe accident, that the insurance was fraudulently purchased due to the fact that the title/registration of the vehicle was illegal. Not only did the foreigner have to stay in jail until a judge could decide damages and who was responsible for the accident, but the foreigner was charged with illegally operating a motor vehicle.

It is too bad you will not be in court to express your opinion when those actually responsible for interpreting the title transfer laws for foreign bikes entered into Chile on TVIPs are presenting their case..... and it is too bad you will not be in front of a judge deciding what is best for the people of Chile. And, you will probably not be presenting your views and opinions against criminal complaints filed against the perpetrator of a Photo Shopped title. But, perhaps someone reading your advice here will.

I am confident none of this will bother you in the least, so have at it, but those who read here will at least have two opinions.

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Old 4 Dec 2013
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May you live in interesting times ... and live forever in Argentina!
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Old 10 Apr 2016
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Anyone experience of this?
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Old 14 May 2016
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I do. I bought a boat in Pool, England. I had it sent to Chile. Then I drove out with a trailer from my home, (I live in Tarija Bolivia) to get it.
First chilean authorities demanded me to pay taxes on the boat. Then after analyzing this particular case, we decided that if I could find anybody living in Valparaiso acting as a guarantee for me, I could take the boat on a temporary import permit. I then had to stamp this paper exiting the country and send it to my guarantee. This was important to him to not be liable anymore for duties.

Enviado desde mi SM-N910H mediante Tapatalk
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