Dubai Import Regulations And Other Restrictions
Dubai is one of the cities in the Gulf region with the most dynamic economies. It boasts of an investor-friendly business environment with its free trade zones (in which full foreign ownership is allowed), an open banking system, and privatization policy.
As one of the emirates of the UAE, Dubai likewise prides itself of having a booming oil industry. Dubai import commodities make up about 70% of the total import requirements of the UAE.
Majority of Dubai import commodities include consumables, food products, cement, capital and other intermediate products. As of 2008, the top three Dubai import sources are Japan (AED 5.63 billion), the United States (AED 5.25 billion), and China (also AED 5.25 billion).
Dubai import statistics also show that the emirate registered an increase of about 12% in its import of vegetables and fruits in 2009 compared to the previous year. Gold is one of the leading Dubai import commodities, with about 300 tons brought in in 2008.
Dubai, as in the other emirates, imposes a maximum duty of 4% of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of the importation.
Foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and such other essential commodities are given duty-free status. Tobacco products and alcohol, on the other hand, are levied with duties of from 25% to 50%.
Dubai import licenses:
Dubai import regulations reflect the emirate’s heavy dependence on imports. Goods intended for personal use, for instance, may be brought in without the need for any import license.
Items intended for resale and which are specifically covered by the necessary import licenses are the only ones importers may bring in to Dubai.
Two certificates are required for beef and poultry products brought into Dubai: Halal Slaughter Certificate and Health Certificate, both from the country of origin.
Here are the most important certifications required for Dubai Import based on specific items being imported:
* Pharmaceutical products – These must have the approval of the Ministry of Health of UAE. Drugs and such other forms of medications not registered with the said government agency are prohibited.
* Frozen and fresh meat – These items must have a certification from the Ministry of Health as well as a certificate stating that the animals have been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law.
* Live animals and plants – A certification from the Ministry of Agriculture must accompany such goods. The certification must state that said goods are free of any disease or pest, have not been subjected to any form of radiation, and are free of certain pesticides or such other chemicals.
Other restrictions and/or prohibitions:
* Alcohol - Strict regulations are applied to these products.
* Pork products – The same stringent regulations as those for alcohol are applied to these goods.
* Food products subjected to irradiation – These items are prohibited from being imported into Dubai.
A prominent feature of Dubai import regulations is the favorable treatment given to imports from any of the five other member-nations of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia; said imports are not subject to custom duty.
Dubai import documentation:
All goods imported into Dubai are subject to standard trade documentation.
This means that the said goods must be covered by the necessary documents, which should include bills of lading (for sea shipments) or air waybills (for air shipments), Certificate(s) of Origin, and such other documents issued by the various concerned government agencies or embassies.
Temporary entry of imported goods:
Dubai import regulations allow for goods to be imported duty free and stored in any of the various free zones in the emirate. Importations of components or parts intended for manufacture of products for subsequent exportation are however subject to duty.
But since Dubai import duty is low (perhaps the lowest in the world), manufacturers do not see this as a bar or hindrance to their business.
It must be mentioned here that the largest free zone in Dubai is the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ), within which 3 different kinds of licenses are issued: General License, National Industrial License, and Special License.
The respective governments of Dubai and the six other emirates of the UAE are continuously reviewing import standards, with focus on the requirements covering the construction industry.
In particular, Dubai import regulations specify the standards on a “per project” basis.
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