What is the Import duty in Saudi Arabia?
- The import of Steel, furniture, liquid detergents and some electrical items are taxed at 20%. Tobacco is taxed at 30%. A few food items that are locally produced are taxed as per some specific rates. This is done to protect the national industry of Saudi Arabia.
- Sugar, tea, rice, wheat, unroasted coffee and meat are exempted from import duty. These are basic consumer goods and thus enjoy preferential rates.
- The import duties on the other items are at a rate of 12%.
Saudi Arabia has signed a number of trade agreements with the Gulf co-operation council, GCC that gives member countries total exemption from the customs duties. In addition to these, a few other Muslim countries namely Morocco, Libya, Kuwait, Jordan and Tunisia enjoy reduced customs duty of 10%.
How is the import duty calculated?
The import duty in Saudi Arabia is calculated as Ad Valorem on the Cost, Insurance and Freight value (CIF). This means that the tax is as per the value of the transaction. It is a percentage of the value of the item and is not dependent on the items quality, weight or size. However, there are a few exemptions where the items are subject to the customs duty based on their capacity or weight. These items have very low rates, though.
Restrictions on importing certain goods into Saudi Arabia
The imports of certain items into Saudi Arabia should comply with the laid out rules.
- Medical and food products need to be accompanied with documents that should clearly specify the ingredients used and should have the consumer protection certificate. The same holds true for any and all Medicaid transportation that import traders use.
- Meat products have to comply with the Saudi regulation of slaughtering.
- A number of items are prohibited from being imported into Saudi Arabia. These include alcohol, weapons, pork, used clothing, pornographic materials etc.
- Special approval for imports is required for live animals, books, agricultural seeds and pharmaceutical products.
As per the Saudi government, contractors need to buy the materials and equipment are from a Saudi importer only in order to protect the national industry. However, if there is no supply locally, then the goods can be imported from the foreign sources.
Every good imported into Saudi Arabia needs to be accompanied with a SASO Certificate Saudi Arabia. The SASO Certificate, also known as the COC Certificate, or the certificate of conformity certificate, is a must to clear the goods through the Saudi customs. The Intertek is the service provider and supports the authorities in Saudi Arabia with the conformity assessment programme.
The SASO standards cover the goods with these key objectives. They are:
- National security
- Religious and public morals protection
- Public health protection
- Environment protection
- Safety of consumers
- Prevention of deceptive practices
The Saudi Customs makes it mandatory to accompany all imported goods with the COC certificate which should be from an authorised inspection agency. Intertek can issue the COC certificate and the Saudi customs authority ensures that the imported goods meet all the standards that are laid down. All the imported consignments also need to have an indication of origin.