Whether you are importing a new product or enabling an ongoing business to function, exporting to Saudi Arabia can be made surprisingly straightforward. But, to make it so, you need to be aware of how Saudi Arabia handles imports. And, you need to know the various aspects that are closely related to importing itself. To help you out, we will cover the basics of Saudi Arabia export in a quick guide.
Before setting up an export operation to Saudi Arabia
While exporting to Saudi Arabia can be made simple, doing so is far from easy. If you are coming from a western country, you will need to do ample research in order to figure out the best supply routes and set up a decent supply chain. Furthermore, there is considerable paperwork to take care of before you export even one shipment. Unfortunately, we cannot possibly cover all the necessary details within a single article, especially if you also plan to move here. So, while we will give you a basic rundown, our advice is to continue what you are doing now, which is researching import and export regulations within Saudi Arabia. Ideally, you will have months of research and preparation under you before you start your export operation.
Setting up an international export operation usually takes months, if not years. So plan ahead.
Key points to consider about Saudi Arabia export
Saudi Arabia is a member of the World Trade Organization. This means that its borders are open to various types of both import and export. While this brings a more open-ended trade system with other WTO countries, it does come with a certain standard when it comes to the border crossing. So, with this in mind, let’s first go over the necessary documents for importing to Saudi Arabia.
Among the ones you will definitely need are:
- Certificate of origin.
- A commercial invoice (in triplicate). In it, you will have to have a description of the goods you are transporting, including value and weight.
- A clean bill of landing. If you are shipping by plane, you will need an airway bill.
- Health regulation documents (if necessary).
- Insurance documents.
- Packing list.
- A document that outlines your conformity with necessary Saudi Arabia standards (if necessary).
- Translation of all of your documents into Arabic.
Get both legal and financial counsel for your Saudi Arabia export.
Setting up transport
One of the most important and arguably the most challenging problems you will have to solve when importing or exporting goods is transport. Not only do you have to deal with international shipping and all the troubles that it brings, but you also need to set up a decent supply chain with local transportation companies. To make this possible, you need to find a way to overcome the language barrier. There are companies that will have this matter handled in no time. But, it can be surprisingly hard to coordinate. This is why experienced exporters always advise finding a good local partner to help you out. Overcoming the language and often the cultural barrier is easier said than done.
Saudi Arabia has a strict policy when it comes to labeling. Based on whether Saudi-specific (SASO) or the Regional/International (e.g., IEC/GSO) standard applies, you may be required to incorporate different labeling. Luckily, certain things remain the same for almost all standards.
- Language – Each label, or document related to your shipments, needs to be in Arabic. Ideally, you will have it both in Arabic and English at all times, especially for safety instructions.
- Marks – All containers need to have their gross weight and the initials of their concierge clearly marked. You should also mark the country of manufacture (for instance: Made in Canada).
- Country of Origin.
- Expiration dates.
There are other labeling regulations related to specific products which we won’t get into now. Just know that you should do ample research about proper labeling to avoid unnecessary hassle.
Border tariffs and barriers
For tariff classification, Saudi Arabia uses the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding system. As a GCC member (Gulf Cooperation Council), Saudi Arabian government applies an external tariff of 5%. This is for most goods imported from outside the GCC. If you import goods that compete with domestic products, expect a tax between 12% and 20% (depending on the industry). An important change to note is that, as of 2017, the Saudi Arabian government started levying a 50% excise tax on soft drinks. Moreover, they are also levying for 100% excise tax on tobacco products and energy drinks.
Business opportunities in Saudi Arabia
As both the largest country in the Gulf region and the greatest economic power in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia definitely has export potential. By owning 16% of the world’s petroleum reserves, Saudi Arabia is among the top producers and exporters of crude oil. But, apart from oil, there is hardly a thing that Saudi Arabia doesn’t import.
Try to learn as much as you can about Saudi Arabia before you start exporting goods.
A program named Vision 2030 was instated in 2016 to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. It has led to a widespread increase in various industries, mostly related to infrastructure, mining, and transport. And to sustain these industries, Saudi Arabia has an enormous need for imported goods and technologies. And to fulfill that need, getting help from companies like Four Winds Saudi Arabia is easier than ever, especially once you find a way to overcome the language barrier. Therefore, the best line of action for you to take is to carefully research the current economic trends and see where you can jump in. Our advice is to check out:
- IT and IT development.
- Vehicle manufacture.
- Laboratory equipment and tools.
- Medicine and pharmaceuticals.
- Industrial machinery.
By now, it should be evident that Saudi Arabia export is something that you can handle. But, to do so effectively, you will need to do a lot of homework. Our advice is to plan ahead and to give yourself at least a year for research. That way, you can both plan your finances properly and avoid being forced into making uneducated decisions. That way, you will have a clear plan on how to make the most out of the robust Saudi Arabian economy.