Includes information on average tariff rates and types that U.S. firms should be aware of when exporting to the market.
Last Published: 1/23/2020

Saudi Arabia uses the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System for tariff classification purposes.  As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it applies the GCC common external tariff of 5 percent to be levied on most goods imported from countries outside the GCC. 

Goods that compete with those produced domestically are dutiable at rates of 12 percent or 20 percent, depending on the industry.  Certain textile imports are among the products on which the 12 percent rate applies.  Dates are dutiable at 40 percent.  Cigarettes and other tobacco products are dutiable at 100 percent.

Certain goods are exempt from the common external tariff.  For instance, goods manufactured within the GCC states are exempt from any duties as they are transported within the union.  There are also a limited number of GCC-approved country-specific exceptions.  Saudi Arabia’s exceptions include 758 products that may be imported duty-free, including aircraft and most livestock. 

In January 2018, the SAG implemented a VAT at a rate of five percent, in addition to the excise taxes implemented in June 2017 on cigarettes (at a rate of 100 percent), carbonated drinks (at a rate of 50 percent), and energy drinks (at a rate of 100 percent). 

Ad valorem duties are levied on the CIF value.  Saudi Arabia adheres to the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement (Article VII of the GATT), which stipulates the methods for the determination of customs valuation.  Imports are subject to a customs surcharge, port fees, cargo service fees, and an import inspection tax.

Import Tariffs on Food/Agricultural Products
The clear majority of food products are subject to a 5 percent import duty.  Selected processed food products, however, are assessed higher import duties.  In order to protect local food processors and production from competitively priced imports, Saudi Arabia ties import duties to the level of local production of similar products.  As a general rule, a maximum import tariff rate of 40 percent ad-valorem is applied when local production of a food or agricultural product exceeds a self-sufficiency level. 
Currently, a 40 percent import duty rate applies to fresh, dried/processed dates and 25 percent on wheat flour.  Poultry imports face a mixed tariff; 20 percent or SAR 1.00 ($0.267) per kilogram, whichever is higher.  

Imports of rice, baby milk and animal feed (soybean meal, feed corn, barley, rice, sorghum, palm kernel meal, wheat bran, alfalfa, hay, sugarcane molasses, rice bran, and sunflower meal, oats, canola meal, fish meal, alfalfa pellets, soy bean hulls, sunflower hulls, and rice bran) are subsidized while coffee, tea and fresh red meat enter the country duty-free.  Saudi Arabia has no tariff rate quota (TRQ) requirement. 
In April 2017, the country began levying a 50 percent excise tax on soft drinks and a 100 percent tax on cigarettes, tobacco products, and energy drinks.

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