The right to commercial-scale goods importation is restricted to Kuwaiti individuals, groups and companies. Furthermore, these entities should comply with two important requirements, namely, become a member of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and secure an import license from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MCI).
Here are a few things that you must know about the import rules and regulations in Kuwait. The following information will be useful in establishing your import business even when you are a foreign national in a partnership with a Kuwaiti national in the country. You can get more in-depth information about importation from the experts of Aeon Gulf so be sure to contact them.
General important licences should be renewed on an annual basis. These licences typically allow any quantity and variety of products from virtually all countries to be imported into Kuwait any number of times.
Of course, special licences should also be secured for certain products for the protection of the country and its residents. Importers must secure special import licences for regulated products including but not limited to:
- Arms, ammunition and explosives
- Ethyl alcohol
- Jewellery and precious stones
- Vintage cars
- Industrial equipment and spare parts
The Kuwaiti government bans the importation of products including:
- Alcoholic beverages including the materials used in their manufacture
- Pigs as well as pork and pigskin products
- Narcotics and their associated seeds and plants
- Pornographic, subversive, and terrorist materials
- Vehicles over 5 years old
- Air guns, cyclamates, and asbestos
These are banned for the protection of local morals, industries, and economy. Foreigners should also take note that imports from Iraq and Israel are absolutely banned.
All valid imports should comply with either the Kuwaiti standard specifications as set for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries or the international standards, in case there is no suitable GCC standards. Otherwise, the imported goods can be held by the government and their owners can be penalised.
In most cases of importation into Kuwait, the importer must comply with at least four documents:
- Commercial invoice
- Certificate of origin
- Official delivery order (i.e., airway bill or bill of lading)
- Packing list
The government can require more documentation depending on the type of imports. Many of these documents should also be certified by the chamber of commerce of the country of origin, the Kuwait consulate in said country, and the consulate of any other Arab country except Iraq.
It must be duly noted that the details of the import rules and regulations can be changed, usually on a frequent basis. Importers and their agents must then regularly check the government’s official gazette, Al-Kuwait Al Your, for updates.
Fortunately, the duties on import goods are the lowest in the Middle East region, although protective tariffs on certain goods can jack up the duties. Be sure to get an accurate computation of the duties and then to pay the correct amount to expedite the import process. You will find that importing into Kuwait is a lucrative venture when you follow its laws.