The Office of Foreign Missions’ Bonded Warehouse Program provides the means through which eligible foreign missions and their members obtain relief from the imposition of taxes and duties on their official and personal purchases of certain commodities. Certain foreign missions and their members enjoy tax and duty-free privileges, which are generally based on Articles 34, 36, 37.1 and 37.2 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and Articles 49.1, 50.1 and 50.2 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Such commodities generally include liquor, wine, beer, soft drinks, confectioneries, tobacco, and fragrances (perfumes & colognes). In most instances, duties and/or federal and state excise taxes are imposed on either the import or manufacture of such articles.
The exemption of such duties and/or taxes cannot be extended by traditional commercial vendors. Therefore, the only mechanism through which a foreign mission or its members can obtain an exemption, on the basis of diplomatic or consular status, from such charges is by purchasing such products through a U.S. Customs and Border Protection-approved bonded warehouse vendor.