Exporting to Saudi: what you need to know

Saudi Arabia is a prime market for many foreign investors looking to export into the Middle East. Saudi Arabia accounts for 25% of the Arab world’s gross domestic product (GDP). Additionally, the strengths of the market include; no personal tax, proximity to other GCC countries and the largest economy and population in the Gulf region.

More than half the Saudi population is below the age of 30, creating a young market with many opportunities to expand the available product offerings. The growing diversity in the economy due to the Vision 2030 and the gap of in-country manufacturing leaves opportunity for foreign businesses looking to export into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia imported $126.8 billion (US) worth of goods in 2017. Main commodities exported to Saudi Arabia include; machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles and textiles. Currently some of the top countries exporting to Saudi Arabia include; Germany, USA, India, China, United Kingdom and Italy.

What you need to know before exporting to Saudi Arabia

A Conformity Assessment Programme has been developed, when exporting to Saudi Arabia, to ensure that the goods are safe and comply with legal regulations. Every export of consignment goods to Saudi Arabia require a Certificate of Conformity (CoC), to enable them to be cleared at Saudi Customs.

The Conformity Assessment Programme for goods has the key objective to ensure public health, consumer safety and national security. The programme ensures that the religious and public morals are protected along with the environment and prevention of deceptive practices in the Kingdom.

A broad range of products can be exported to Saudi Arabia, however some products do pose higher risks. High risk products are products that pose a higher risk to the end-consumer, these include; sockets, plugs, adapters, electrical extension cords, hair dryers, electric water heaters, mobile chargers, car spare part and children’s toys.

Products that require significant amounts of energy must also comply with the energy efficiency requirements of Saudi Arabia. These products are tested for their performance against the energy efficiency requirement technical regulations in addition to the safety standard requirements. This can include; air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators/freezers, electric lamps and electric motors.

However, not all products are subject to the CoC and for products that aren’t exporters are advised to confirm the legal requirements with the related Saudi ministries. Products in this category include; sanitary products, sample and demonstration products, temporarily imported products, medical products, food products and defence products.

Opportunities available through exporting to Saudi Arabia are broad. As there are currently many gaps in the market in manufacturing, this leaves opportunity for those products to be imported to the Kingdom. If you would like to export to Saudi Arabia and require assistance, contact us at info@proven-sa.com.