International Joint Ventures and Merger & Acquisitions

How can Indian Manufacturers Sell Goods in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait & Oman?

July 18, 2020

An Indian manufacturer wishing to import to Saudi Arabia is required to fulfil the following pre-requisites.

Import Licence process required in Saudi Arabia

An Indian manufacturer wishing to import to Saudi Arabia is required to fulfil the following pre-requisites:

  • The manufacturer must register himself and acquire the appropriate license or permit from Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI). There are a lot of guidleines and rules to be followed strictly, given under the MCI for exporting to Saudi Arabia.
  • The Saudi Arabian Department of Customs (SADC) is the authority which is responsible for regulating all the inflow and outflow of goods within the country. This body levies taxes on goods efficiently, facilitates the legitimate trade implementation of customs policies and protects the society by ensuring the safety of goods distributed in its society through its legal economic mechanisms.          
  • Every goods imported into Saudi Arabia needs to be accompanied with a SASO Certificate Saudi Arabia.           
  • Furthermore, meat products must necessarily specify that the slaughtering procedures comply with the Saudi regulations. Meats and poultry require a very specific "Halal" certificate stating that the meat was slaughtered in accordance with the Islamic law, and it must be legalized by a recognized Islamic Centre.
The exporter of goods from India to Saudi Arabia is responsible for authenticating the following:-

  • The certificate of origin.
  • The commercial invoice.
  • All related special documents.
The required documents must be certified in the following order:

  • Notarized by a Notary Public and certified by a local Exporting country Chamber of Commerce.
  • Certified duly by the Exporting country which is the Saudi Arabian Business Council.
  • Legalized by the Saudi Embassy or any other Saudi Consulate within the Exporting country.

Regulations, Customs and Standards followed in Saud Arabia for Import Approval

There are certain regulations and standards in lace as well as certified bodies required to keep a check on the customs laws and all imports into the country. The National Standards Organisations is the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation (SASO) which is responsible for governing the laws and regulations for imports in particular. This organization is responsible for publishing approved standards in the manner it deems appropriate and ensuring that the said standards shall be valid upon publication in the Official Gazette. It also issues regulations for conformity with the assessment price. This organization regulates customs in the following manner:

  • They are required to issue and implement regulations of licensing procedures for local and imported products which conform to the adopted national standards and grant rights for its subsequent use.
  • They also need to issue and implement regulations for the process of granting registration certificates to QMSs, environment and safety systems and other systems adopted by the Board.
  • They grant quality marks for products. However, quality marks for products under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug General Authority shall be granted upon the Authority’s approval only.
  • They promote the awareness with regard to standards, quality, conformity assessment procedures, metrology and calibration.
  • SASO coordinates efforts pertaining to standards, quality, conformity assessment procedures, metrology and calibration in the Kingdom, as well as efforts relating to the mutual recognition in other countries.
  • SASO implemented the National System of Metrology and Calibration in the Kingdom.
  • They need to ensure the implementation of adopted Saudi standards and conformity assessment procedures, in coordination with relevant agencies therein.
  • They grant conformity certificates to local and export-oriented products.
  • They also carry out accreditation works, including accreditation of laboratories and entities granting QMS certificates.
  • They are required to establish a database for the organization and exchange of information with local, regional and international agencies.
  • They are required to cConduct research and studies, provide consulting services and cooperate with companies, organizations, universities, research centres and other organizations within the same sector.
  • They are authorized to review laws and control regulations related to the organization and propose amendments in line with the quality and safety requirements and refer the same to the competent authorities for review and issuance, in accordance with applicable procedures mentioned here.
  • They act as an inquiry point with regard to the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
  • They join regional and international organizations concerned with standards, metrology, calibration and quality, and represent the Kingdom therein.

Classification of Standards

SASO adopts the ISO 9000 as the accepted standard for Saudi Arabia and acts as a body for accreditation through the Quality Assurance Department. Nevertheless, SASO also accepts ASTM, NEMA, ANSI, UL, and NFPA standards in Saudi Arabia.

The Online Consultation of Standards

The Oum Al-Qura is the official gazette wherein all regulations are published.

Certification Organisations

The Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation (SASO) and The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation of which Saudi Arabia is an affiliate member are the two certification bodies in Saudi Arabia as mentioned above.

Regulations and Guidelines for exporters and Customs Rules in Kuwait

The specific rules, guidelines and taxes applicable for exporting into Kuwait from India are enumerated below:

Non-Tariff Barriers

Import of products from Israel is completely prohibited along with alcohol.

Customs Duty and Tax on Imports

  • 5% ad valorem on most products is levied.
  • First need products and are not taxed at all.
  • Certain goods have a tax rate of 10% to 12% in order to protect the national industry.
  • A 100% tax rate on tobacco is levied.
Customs Classification

Tariffs are based on the Harmonized International System (HIS) Code for classification of imports and exports.

Process of importing goods from India to Kuwait

The importers (from India) will be required to apply for the requisite import license issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This license must be registered with the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) as well. These licenses are valid for a period of one year, are renewable and are valid for usage for multiple shipments. It is necessary to acquire Import licenses for industrial machinery and spare parts which are issued by the Industrial Development Commission of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for exporting to Kuwait.

The documents required for such an export to Kuwait are as follows:

  • The certificate of origin
  • An invoice
  • A packing list
  • A Bill of lading

Certain specific products may require a special license or additional documentation.

Only a local agent is authorised to clear the imported product items at the Kuwait Customs by showing an official letter of representation as well as a letter by the end-user as well.

Importing Samples

Samples are exempt from customs taxes as long as their packaging identifies their sender and their advertising purpose.

Free import

Certain products fall under the category for free importation. These are:

  • 500 cigarettes or
  • 2 pounds of tobacco products
  • Reasonable amount of perfume
  • Essential medicines
  • Industrial farm products from other GCC states
Prohibited Products

The following products are strictly prohibited from entry in Kuwait from another country:

  • Illegal or unlicensed drugs
  • Guns, explosives and ammunition
  • Knives and deadly weapons
  • Alcoholic products
  • Plant and plant products
  • Pork, Meat and meat products
  • Pets unless authorised to do so
  • Birds unless from certain countries
  • Unsealed milk products and mineral water
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Food prepared abroad
  • Animals from Iraq
  • All goods from Israel
  • Politically subversive material
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Pornographic material

Certain goods are restricted under some special guidelines and regulations for the purpose of securing the nation’s interest. These have been explained below:

  • A special permit from the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior is required in order to legally import any weapons or ammunition Kuwait.
  • Every form of alcoholic beverage and associated materials for the construction of alcoholic drinks are denied entry into the country.
  • Every form ofl beef, pigs, pork, pork and pigskin products like handbags, wallets and shoes are banned from entering into Kuwait from England and The Republic of Ireland.
  • All jewels, precious stones and metals may only be imported subject to approval by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait.
  • An authorization is required from the Ministry of Health for drugs and medicines
  • Dogs, cats and other animals being imported into the country are required to have veterinarian health certificate and permission from the General Directorate for Agricultural and Sea Wealth. Every specie of birds are banned from entry unless originating from Albania, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palestine, Thailand, Ukraine and Zimbabwe. No animals from Iraq are permitted entry into Kuwait whatsoever.

Regulations and Guidelines for exporters and Customs Rules in Oman

Non Tariff Barriers

  • The licensing of business activities within Oman can be quite procedural resulting in a significant amount of time for exportation of goods into the country. Countries looking to import goods to Oman are required to with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Further, a special license must be obtained for the importation of certain classes of goods, such as alcohol, livestock, poultry, firearms, pharmaceuticals and explosives.
  • The media imports are subject to censorship by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for morally or politically sensitive material in particular. The Ministry of Information is known to routinely delay or bar publications if they feel that the specific content morally suspect or politically sensitive and hence threatening in nature.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

  • All foreign, non-American/GCC goods are imported according to Oman’s tariff schedule, which imposes a very modest duty not exceeding 10%. According to the data from the 2016 World Bank reports, the average rate of import taxes is 3.2% only.
  • After the enforcement of the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement in January 2009, bilateral trade in industrial and consumer products, with the exception of certain textile and apparel products, is now duty free from export from all other nations apart from the specifically restricted countries.
  • Oman has provided duty free access on virtually every product in its tariff schedule and shall even phase out tariffs over the remaining handful of products within a few years, according to government sources.
  • Furthermore, there is no VAT over sales.
Customs Classification

Oman is a member of the World Customs organisation and hence complies with the harmonised customs system.

Import Procedures

As per the Royal Oman Police Customs Directorate (ROP Customs), the following requirements are necessary for the clearance of imported goods into Oman:

  • An accredited copy of the commercial registration and an activity form or permission for such an import in situations wherein this form does not exist.
  • A valid copy of the affiliation certificate to the Oman Chamber of Industry and Commerce (OCIC).
  • A valid certificate from the manufacturer.
  • A valid quotation list.
  • The packing lists.
  • A Bill of lading at sea and air custom offices only.
  • A manifest of the shipment which is basically, a document which contains a detailed description of the cargo.
  • A permission of deliverance from the shipping agent.
  • A comprehensive and valid written authorization from the person in charge for customs clearance in Oman.
  • Payment of the required taxes and customs fee for the total value of the shipment including the cargo and insurance.
All the imports brought into Oman above the amount of RO 1,000 must be accompanied by an accredited copy of the commercial registration, a copy of the affiliation certificate to the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), a commercial invoice, a bill of lading or the airway bill, the relevant certificate or the permit for restricted imports and a certificate of origin for preferential imports, at all times.

Importing Samples

  • There aren’t any specified processes for samples shipments. All sample shipments require the same set of documents as a normal shipment would and the value of the goods should must still appear on the commercial invoice indicating "for customs clearance purpose only'' on the invoice. Zero value invoices are not acceptable whatsoever.
  • Every product which is imported into and exported from Oman is now subject to the new regulations which meet the health requirements, specification standards and food safety standards of consumers in Oman.
  • A statement from the Muscat Municipality was quoted, “In order to discuss challenges in the health monitoring sector and to facilitate procedures amongst the competent authorities, the Muscat Municipality met with the authorities operating at the Muscat International Airport that are concerned with the work of shipping imported and exported materials, to ensure they meet the needs of health requirements, approved standard specifications, and safety of foodstuff for the consumer.”
  • All cargo services are required to provide a number of facilities for ensuring the quality and integrity of these goods. These include 24-hour services for import and export cargo, an automated cargo system for documentation, warehousing, exports cargo acceptance and imports cargo delivery purposes as well as a round-the-clock break-down and build-up of cargo and mail at all times.
  • Moreover, in addition, the cargo terminals at both the Muscat International Airport and the Salalah International Airport include cold-storage and freezer-storage facilities, a storage for dangerous and hazardous cargo, separate storage facilities for newspapers, diplomatic and postal mails, electronic weighing scales for accurate calculations of weight capacities, cargo x-raying for safety and security purposes, under strict supervision of airport security, road feeder service to various airlines, and Freight Status Updates (FSU) messaging requirements for airlines as well.

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