Exporting to the Middle East: a beginner's guide to export compliance

Fri 2 Jun 2017
Posted by: IOE&IT News

Focus on Middle East


Thinking of exporting to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and/or Syria?  Then it’s important to be aware that these Middle Eastern countries operate mandatory Conformity Assessment Programmes.  Implemented to ensure that unsafe goods and those of poor quality do not enter their markets.

Whilst the premise of each countries programme is similar (nearly all shipments must be inspected and certified based upon existing product conformity documentation, such as safety test reports & technical datasheets), there are slight variations in their requirements. 

Understanding these differences and the compliance requirements related to your shipment is therefore vital, as a one size fits all approach will result in shipment delays and hinder your supply chain.

So, we asked IOE&IT corporate member and expert in export procedures, XDS Solutions, to provide a simple overview and have set out its advice as a guide:

#3 Exporting to the Middle East Facts:

  • Each country has its own list of what it considers to be ‘regulated’ products.  The products are determined based upon product type and identified using HS/Commodity Codes. These products will be subject to the programme.
  • Each country also has its own list of exempted products.  This means certain categories of goods may not need certification to enter the country.
  • Some countries also have a list of prohibited goods which are not allowed to enter the country under any circumstances.

The Middle Eastern countries with such programmes in place are below:

  • Saudi Arabia (SASO Certificate of Conformity)
  • Iraq (ICIGI Pre-Importation Inspection, Testing & Certification Program of Goods to Iraq)
  • Kuwait (Kuwait Conformity Assurance Scheme – KUCAS)
  • Qatar (Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology (QGOSM) Certificate of Conformity
  • Syria- (Syrian product conformity assessment and verification of price and origin)
  • Kurdistan – (The Kurdistan Standardization and Quality Control Administration (KSQCA) Certification)
  • Lebanon – Industrial Research Institute (IRI) of Lebanon Pre-Shipment Programme of Conformity Verification)

The following countries are also members of the Gulf Standards Association (GSO), and as such are required to implement a strict set of import standards:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Sultanate of Oman
  • State of Qatar
  • State of Kuwait
  • Republic of Yemen


Further reading:

Take a look at a recent IOE&IT/XDS blog, all about the new Gulf Conformity Tracking Symbol (GCTS) for electrical products ‘Gulf Conformity Tracking Symbol: Are you ready?


Next Steps:

Taken your first order to the Middle East? Early planning will streamline export compliance and ensure all the mandatory export documents are in place, before your shipment leaves the warehouse.

Exporters who are concerned about the complexities of international compliance can also boost their knowledge base by enrolling staff on the Institute’s Diploma in World Customs Compliance. The pioneering 18 month to two-year online course offers part-time blended learning, with modular assessments - and leads to a full customs qualification at level 5 diploma level.


About XDS Solutions

Chelmsford-based XDS Solutions was launched in 2013 to offer export managers a fast and simple way to manage customs clearance. With more than 12 years’ experience in export compliance, its founders knew well the frustration felt at being unable to find a straightforward route. Instead of slow, complex, web-based conformity assessment programmes which fail to take into account unique business requirements, an XDS expert advisor personally manages every step of each client’s export compliance journey.


To discuss your firm’s export procedures, including faster SASO & SONCAP customs clearance documentation, visit XDS-solutions.com.