Saudi Arabia has strict import restrictions. The cargos need to get scrutinised for following the standard specifications laid down by the Saudi Customs. A good importer in Saudi Arabia is one who carefully follows all the procedures and the SASO standards before accepting goods that are exported to Saudi Arabia.
Commodity prohibition and restriction
The SASO standards PDF clearly mentions the commodities that are prohibited or restricted for importing into Saudi Arabia. A good importer should be clear of these cargo items and strictly stay away from accepting them.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Animal blood products
- Narcotics of any kind
- Christmas trees
- Frogs meat
- Gambling devices
There are many more products on this list and an importer should be clear of the restricted and prohibited products in the file.
Government Ministry Approvals
A few controlled goods need the government ministry approval before they are imported into Saudi Arabia. They may require a COC certificate, or the certificate of conformity, by the shipper. A good importer should check if the imported products have the necessary approvals.
Saudi food and drug authority (SFDA)
The Saudi customs authority makes it necessary to take the SFDA clearance for some products. These include:
- Medical products
- Cosmetics and perfumes
- Dietary supplements
- Reagents and diagnostic
- Laboratory solutions
The SFDA approval is mandatory to be taken by the consignee before the cargo is shipped to Saudi Arabia. Once the SFDA approves the same, a copy of the approval is required to be attached on each of the imported shipment.
Communication and information technology commission (CITC)
A few products need approval from the CITC before they are imported to the country. These include:
- IT equipment’s
- GPS equipment
- Cell phones
- Wi-Fi routers(a few of them)
- Networking equipment
The IT approval is mandatory prior to shipping of the product.
Ministry of commerce and industry (MOCI)
There are a few goods that need approval from the MOI before entering Saudi Arabia. These include:
- Ink products
Here too the approval needs to be sought prior to shipping.
Ministry of information (MOI)
All the shipments into Saudi Arabia are checked by x-rays, manually or also by using sniffer dogs. The following products may be sent to the ministry for approval:
- Photographic media
The products are selected at random. If the product does not fit the import standards then they are confiscated and destroyed.
Saudi Arabian standards organisation (SASO)
A certificate of conformance, COC, is required by a number of products that are used domestically. The certificate needs to be taken before shipping the cargo. The COC is issued by some of the certification bodies from around the world. The goods that enter into Saudi Arabia are tested for adhering to the SASO certificate Saudi Arabia. The goods should follow the standards laid down in the SASO certificate.
A good importer in Saudi Arabia will strictly follow all these checks before accepting a product.