Basic knowledge of imports in Kuwait offers German exporters a brief overview of the country’s most important customs and import regulations. It provides information about customs procedures, accompanying documents, import duties, import bans and restrictions.
Import duties and other import duties
Kuwait is a member of the WTO. Together with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A common customs law and tariff are applied. The external tariff is 5% for most goods. The tax base for customs is usually the CIF value. Many products can be imported duty-free. Trade in goods within the GCC is also duty-free. Preferential tariff rates apply to goods originating in the Great Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Singapore.
Value-added tax is currently not levied, but its introduction is planned for the beginning of 2018. In addition, a special excise tax of 100% on tobacco products and energy drinks and 50% on carbonated drinks is due to be introduced shortly. Kuwait’s customs duties and other import duties can be accessed free of charge in the EU’s market access database, http://madb.europa.eu/.
Basically, the following handling options are available: clearance for free circulation, temporary use, transit, re-export and drawback, bonded goods storage and free zone traffic. The temporary admission procedure is limited to a period of three months. The ATA Carnet cannot be used for this. The TIR Carnet can be used for transit. All customs offices should be able to offer e-payment services by the end of June 2017.
Internet address of the Kuwait Customs Administration: http://www.customs.gov.kw/
Import permits are required for some goods, such as plants, live animals or pharmaceuticals. Depending on the type of goods, other approval agencies may be responsible.
The following must always be enclosed with the customs declaration: Freight documents, commercial invoice with all customary information, a packing list and a non-preferential certificate of origin in English or Arabic. Depending on the type of goods, special documents may be required upon import. Phytosanitary certificates must be submitted for plants, parts of plants and seeds. A veterinary certificate is required for live animals and animal products. A Halal certificate is required for many foods, cosmetics and other goods. For sample goods, a pro forma invoice stating “samples without commercial value” must be submitted.
For goods to be imported into Kuwait, the documents accompanying the goods must be legalized by the Kuwait embassy. According to the embassy, these documents must first be certified by the responsible Chamber of Commerce and Industry and then submitted to the Arab-German Association for Trade and Industry (GHORFA) for pre-certification. Legalization is subject to a fee.
An import ban applies, for example, to drugs, live pigs, foodstuffs made from animal blood; used or retreaded vehicle tires; Ivory; Gaming machines, certain listening devices, military clothing, devices that alter the voice; hazardous waste according to the Basel Convention, radioactive products, persistent organic pollutants, certain diesel engine oil, non-biodegradable plastic bags, ozone-depleting substances, asbestos; all products, including publications and works of art, which could be perceived as offensive in Kuwait from a moral or religious point of view; Were of Israeli origin.
Norms and standards
Goods to be imported into Kuwait must either meet the standard conditions of the GCC or Kuwait. If no standards specific to Kuwait have been issued, the standards of the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) or corresponding ISO standards generally apply.
There are some regulated products that typically require technical test reports as well as technical assessment reports. These include, for example: electric toys, household appliances (electric and gas-powered), vehicles and tires, as well as certain chemical products and building materials. Manufacturers or exporters of these goods must meet the requirements of the national conformity assurance system (Kuwait Conformity Assurance Scheme, KUCAS). The authority responsible for KUCAS is the Public Authority for Industry.
Electronic and electrical consumer products must be marked with the “G-Mark” conformity mark.