U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council|
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Guide to Exporting to the U.S.
The Saudi Arabian Government places great importance on the promotion of national exports, so very few export controls have been imposed. Prior to contemplating exportation, Saudi producers are advised to ensure that their products are not subject to restrictions.
Restricted and Prohibited Exports
Certain commodities are restricted or prohibited from exportation by the Saudi Government. Restrictions take the form of Banned Exports or Exports Subject to Authorization/Licensing. In times of local food shortages or in an emergency situation, the Saudi Government reserves the right to refuse the exportation or re-exportation of any products in the national interest.
The Ministry of Finance, Customs Department, has introduced specific requirements concerning the labeling of goods, the submission of export documentation, and the mode of transportation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and other countries. Please take note of the various requirements to avoid any conflict.
Saudi Arabia follows international rules and regulations for labeling in order to ensure proper handling and to assist the foreign importer in identifying shipments. Labeling requirements for food products include providing information relating to the contents, manufacture and expiration dates, as well as all contact information of the manufacturer, clearly displayed in Arabic. It is strongly recommended that outer-cartons be clearly marked with the trade name, the type of product, and the manufacture and expiration dates.
The Saudi Government requires a series of documents exporters must present with each shipment. Please note that the consignee may require additional documentation. In order to limit delays in the country of destination, it is important that the information on all export documentation be consistent. Following is a list of required documents and the issuing body for exports to GCC states and other countries. We have also included samples of the various export documentation forms. Please contact the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance for original forms.
The Commercial Invoice is a bill for the goods from the buyer to the seller. It should be submitted on the exporting company's letterhead in the name of the buyer, whose name should also appear on the letter of credit. The buyer needs the invoice to prove ownership and to arrange payment. Copies of the invoice should be submitted to the bank. The amount of the invoice should be the same as the amount mentioned in the terms of credit.
Bill of Lading
The Bill of Lading is issued by the transportation carrier to the exporter acknowledging the receipt of the goods to be shipped, as well as their placement on a shipping vessel. The date on the bill should not be later than the shipping date specified in the letter of credit. It must be signed by the shipping company or its authorized agents. If the bill is made out in the name of the buyer or the foreign bank opening the credit as consignee, then no one else can receive the shipment. It should also be noted that a bill of lading issued by forwarding agents is not unacceptable.
The Airway Bill establishes the terms between an exporter and an air transportation company for the transport of goods. The airway bill is issued and signed by the air transportation company and should be presented within two to three days from the date of shipment, or as stipulated in the letter of credit. The airway bill is issued in three originals and nine copies, with the second original going to the buyer. The bill should also state whether or not freight is prepaid.
Certificates of Origin
To confirm the origin of goods destined for other parts of the world, producers must have officially-certified certificates of origin. These can be obtained from the Directorate of Supplies at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, or from branches of the Ministry in the major cities of the Kingdom. During public holidays, local Chambers of Commerce and Industry are authorized to sign certificates of origin.
This form is required by the Ministry of Finance, Customs Department, and is to be completed by the exporter. The Customs authorities will, upon completion of the declaration, confirm the document's accuracy and add their own authentication. The fees payable are recorded and an acknowledgment of receipt is issued. A listing of the Export Declaration Requirements is available for your reference.
Shipping requirements and restrictions vary depending on the mode of transportation. In the event a supplier exports to the GCC states by land, additional requirements may apply. The movement of refrigerated vehicles through Saudi Arabian ports is restricted. All export consignments of foodstuffs in refrigerated containers will be inspected by the Security Forces inside the port, which will necessitate the un-packing and re-packing of all consignments by port employees. This may lead to the risk of inadequate re-packing and damage to the goods. For sea shipments, exporters must follow the Saudi Arabian Ports Authority Requirements regarding rules and regulations, port service fees, additional service charges for containers and trailers, and storage fees.
1. Rules and Regulations
2. Port Service Fees
The port service charges listed above cover the transportation of the goods within the port area from the shipper's transport until they are loaded on board the carrying vessel.
The following are additional service fees for containers and trailers. Values are per unit.
4. Storage Fees
Storage is free of charge for the first 10 days after the goods enter the Customs Area. The two Eid holidays will be excluded from this period. Subsequently, fees are charged at the rate of SR20 per ton per day, until the cargo is dispatched. Fees for the use of the cold store are charged at the extra rate of SR10 per ton, or part thereof, until the cargo is dispatched.
Following charges for refrigeration services for refrigerated and frozen cargo will be collected in addition to the storage charges:
Where goods are imported with the specific intention to re-export them, then a customs duty deposit is required to be paid at the port of entry. This duty is recoverable upon re-export. Imported goods on which duty has been paid may also be re-exported in situations where there has been no local processing, or where such processing has occurred but has added less than 40 percent of the product's value. All duty paid may be claimed from the Customs Authorities. In situations where imported goods are subject to local processing, the added value exceeds 40 percent, then such goods may be re-exported as local products, and a local certificate of origin can be issued. In such instances, either the imported goods are imported duty free as raw materials for local industry, or a customs deposit can be paid. If such goods are imported by a party other than the exporter, then any duty previously paid may be re-claimed, subject to assistance from the original importer. Certain goods, specifically those included in the restricted or prohibited lists, are either not permitted to be exported or re-exported, or are subject to special export permits.