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Muslimtrade Network members
about Saudi Arabia.

S  A  U  D  I    A  R  A  B  I  A 


  1. GENERAL PRESENTATION : * 
1.1. General characteristics : *
1.2. General information : *
1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships : *

2. TRADE STRUCTURE : *  
2.1. Main exported products : *
2.2. Main imported products : *
2.3. Trading partners : *

3. FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL : *  
3.1. Imports regulations : *
3.2. Exports regulations : *
3.3. Other formalities and documents : *.

4. FOREIGN TRADE FINANCIAL OPERATIONS : *  
4.1. Banking system : *
4.2. Exchange system : *
4.3. Methods and means for international payment : *

5. CUSTOMS TAXATION : *  
5.1. Applicable duties and taxes : *
5.2. Special provisions : *

6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC : *  
6.1. International Transports : *
6.2. Telecommunications : *
6.3. Distribution System : *

7. USEFUL ADDRESSES : *

  

1. GENERAL PRESENTATION : 

1.1. General characteristics : 

Official name  Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Area  2,150,000 Km²
Population  17.8 million inhabitants in 1995
Density  8.3 inhabitants per square Kilometer
Capital  Riyadh
Climate  Saudi Arabia is classified among the driest countries in the world ; summers are hot with temperatures higher than 38°C ; while in winter, temperatures range between 14 to 23°C. Rains are very light over the whole territory.
Main holidays  Aid Al Adha, Aid Al Fitr. 

1.2. General information : 

Language  Arabic, English is also used in business.
Currency  Riyal (SAR)
Local time  GMT + 3 H.
Working hours Banks and private sector : 8 H 30 to 12 17 H to 19 H from Saturday to Wednesday and 8 H 30 to 12 H on Thursday. 

Administration : 7 h 30 to 14 h 30 from Saturday to Wednesday.
1-3 The legal framework of trade relationships :

Saudi Arabia is notably Member of the following international and regional organizations : 
The United Nations Organization (UN) ; 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ; 
The World Bank Group ; 
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ; 
The Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C) ; 
The Arab League. 

Saudi Arabia has also signed economic and commercial cooperation agreements with most of Islamic Countries as well as with its trading partners of Africa, Asia, America and Europe. 

Saudi Arabia has also applied for membership in the World Trade Organization (W.T.O).

2. TRADE STRUCTURE : 

2.1. Main exported products : 
Crude oil ;  
Refined oil products ;  
Petrochemicals and plastic goods. 

2.2. Main imported products : 
Capital goods ;  
Manufactured products ;  
Chemicals ;  
Raw materials ;  
Miscellaneous food products. 

2.3. Trading partners :

Main customers

Main suppliers 

United States

United States

Japan

Japan

South Korea

England

France

Germany

Italy 

Switzerland

Singapore

Italy

Japan and the United States are at the same time, the main customers and main suppliers of Saudi Arabia.

3. FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL : 

In the field of foreign trade, Saudi Arabia adopted a relatively liberal policy both at imports and exports levels. 

3.1. Imports regulations : 

For the last few years, imports regulations have been marked by a considerable relaxation. The main provisions in this area may be summed up as follows : 

The list of products prohibited for imports is limited to goods : alcoholic drinks, drugs, pork meat. 

The imports of some products such as arms and ammunition, and pharmaceutical products is submitted to the authorization of the competent Ministry. 

Finally, cinematographic productions and publications must be submitted to the prior censure of the Ministry of Information. 

3.2. Exports regulations :

Exports customs formalities and procedures are relatively very simplified, especially in view of the nature of exported products.

3.3. Other formalities and documents : 

* Any goods forwarded to Saudi Arabia must be coupled with a sales invoice, written in Arabic or English and as well as with a certificate attesting goods origin ; 

* In fields of agri-food industries and environment protection, goods must be conform with the standards established by the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO). 

* As concerns food products, sanitary and analysis certificates are often compulsory.

4. FOREIGN TRADE FINANCIAL OPERATIONS : 

4.1. Banking system :

The main institutions in this field may be divided into four categories :

Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA) which plays the role of the Central Bank ; 
Commercial banks entirely Saudis, such as National Commercial Bank, Riyadh Bank and Al Rajhi Banking Investment Corporation ; 
9 Commercial Banks in joint venture with foreign banks but with Saudi Majority holding; 
And finally, specialized financial institutions whose main role is to grant long term credit. 

4.2. Exchange system : 

Exchange operations are free in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Riyal is entirely convertible. 

4.3. Methods and means for international payment : 

Saudis foreign trade operators resort to most of the means used at international level : documentary credit, documentary remittance, international transfer (Swift) ; however the irrevocable and confirmed documentary credit is the most currently used means.

5. CUSTOMS TAXATION : 

Saudi Arabia has assessed out its customs tariff on the basis of the General Products Nomenclature (GPN), stemming from the International Convention on the harmonized goods description and codification system.

5.1. Applicable duties and taxes : 

Most of imported goods are subjected to a customs duty of 12% on CIF value ; notably in the event of : bakery goods, canned food, clothing and household equipment, cosmetics and perfumery and vehicles and their spare parts ; 

Yet, customs duties of 20% are applied to imported products similar to those manufactured locally as frozen chicken, furniture, plastic articles, electric cables etc... 

Yet, it should be noted that some imported essential products benefit from total exemption from customs duties ; such as sugar, meat, rice and pharmaceutical products. 

5.2. Special provisions : 

Goods from the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (G.C.C) are in principle duty free. 

Likewise, some tariff conventions between Saudi Arabia and some Islamic Countries provide for total or partial exemption from duties and taxes.

6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC : 

6.1. International Transports : 

Air transports have experienced a quick expansion for the last twenty years. Saudi Arabia is endowed with three international airports : 
King Khalid of Riyadh ; 
King Abdul Aziz of Jeddah ; 
Dhahran Airport. 

It is also provided with twenty airports for local transports. 

The National air Company Saudi Arabian Airlines ensures regular flights : on the one hand between this country and the main international airports of Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Yet, it should also be noted that Saudi Arabia is also served by other air companies such as Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways and Swiss Air. 

* The total length of the road network was estimated at about 128,000 Km in 1992. Road public transports are ensured by Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO). Saudi Arabia is also provided with a railway network managed by the Saudi Railways organization. 

* In the area of maritime transport, the country is endowed with six major ports : 

On the Gulf : Dammann, Ras Tanura and Jubail 

On the Red sea : Jeddah, Yanbu, Jizan and Dhuba.

Dhuba port is specialized in goods traffic from the Near-East and North Africa. While Yanbu and Jubail ports are rather specialized is Saudi products exports. 

6.2. Telecommunications : 

Saudi Arabia is endowed with a relatively developed telecommunications network. Automatic telephone and telegraphic services extend over the whole Saudi territory. 

At international level, the country is directly linked to most foreign countries, thanks notably to three satellites which complete the Saudi telecommunications network : 
Intelsat, for international communications, ; 
Immarsat, for communications through telex and telephone ; 
Arabsat for Inter-Arab telecommunications network. 

6.3. Distribution System : 

The Saudi distribution system is actually experiencing an important change especially in view of the quick increase of west like commercial centres and supermarkets.

7. USEFUL ADDRESSES : 

Organizations & Public Establishments

ADDRESS

PHONE / FAX

Ministry of Commerce Airport Road - Riyadh 11162 Tel : (966 1) 401 22 29 / 22 

Fax : 405 64 20
Saudi Export Development Centre P.O. Box 16683 - Riyadh 11474  Tel : 405 32 00 

Fax : 402 47 47 /  

406 51 96
Saudi Arabian Standards Organizations (SASO) P.O. Box 3437 - Riyadh 11471 Tel : 452 00 00 

Fax : 452 00 86
Directory of Customs Airport Road - P.O. Box 3483 Riyadh 11197 Tel : 401 33 34 

Fax : 404 29 12
Ministry of Finance and National Economy Airport Road - Riyadh 11177 Tel : 405 00 00 

Fax : 405 92 02
Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry P.O. Box 16683 - Riyadh 11474 Tel : 405 32 00 

Fax : 402 47 47



 
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