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Saudi Arabia

Export Opportunities for U.S. Businesses

Saudi Arabia County Facts       download



GDP of


Economy in
the MEA


U.S. is the
#1 Import


19th Largest
Destination for
U.S. Exports


$19 Billion
in U.S.





The Saudi economy—the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region—has been growing at a robust pace. The private sector has been the key driver behind the stronger non-oil sector growth, with an annual growth rate close to seven percent since 2000. The Kingdom’s budget of $228 billion for 2014 with public funds are earmarked for social projects and improving infrastructure. The majority of these projects will focus on municipal services, transportation, telecommunications, water, agriculture, and other pertinent infrastructure related projects. A key investment objective in Saudi Arabia is in the area of education and training. Although American exporters are not required to appoint a local Saudi agent or distributor to sell to Saudi companies, it is strongly recommend that all new-to-market U.S. companies consider partnering with a local company and hiring in-country legal counsel.




Engineering and Architecture Services
The Saudi Government continues to invest heavily in infrastructure development as it moves to diversify its economy and to respond to the needs of a large population seeking to improve civil infrastructure. Saudi Government officials have earmarked and pledged to spend an estimated $400 billion (SAR1.5 trillion) on large infrastructure projects over the coming years.


Construction Equipment
The Saudi government is gearing up to meet the residential, health, and education needs of its rapidly growing population. Over 3.2 million new housing units will be needed, as well as hospitals, schools, universities and leisure centers. Hundreds of projects in all are creating unprecedented demand for the latest construction industry machinery like; earth-moving machinery and equipment construction tools and equipment, excavation and earth drilling equipment; safety & security equipment; tools & hardware equipment; load and haul equipment, etc.


Safety and Security
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest markets for security equipment and technology in the region and it continues to develop rapidly with a $97 billion forecast spend on homeland security alone over the next 8 years. The region is transforming itself from oil revenue dependency to one of manufacturing and infrastructure diversification. There has been a massive increase in spending in the security equipment services, fire equipment services, safety equipment services to ensure the health, safety and protection of all in the kingdom.

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Import Tariffs
As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia applies the GCC common external tariff of 5% for most products. Being a WTO member, Saudi Arabia is expected to bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2%, while tariffs on over 90% of agricultural products will be set at 15% or lower.

Import Requirements and Documentation
There are no special import provisions. Under its WTO obligations, Saudi Arabia has committed to implement a transparent and predictable import licensing system. The following documents are required for exporting goods to Saudi Arabia: certificate of origin; -commercial invoice (in triplicate) which must state the country of origin, name of the carrier, brand and number of goods, and description of the goods including weight and value; a clean bill of lading or airway bill; documents indicating compliance with health regulations, if applicable; insurance documents, if shipments are sent CIF; packing list; and certificate of conformity with applicable Saudi standards, if available.

U.S. Exports Controls
In the area of export control policy and regulation, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is charged with the implementation of U.S. export control policy on dual-use commodities, software, technology, and commodities on the Control Commodities List.

Prohibited and Restricted
The importation of certain articles is either prohibited or requires special approval from competent authorities. Importing the following products requires special approval by Saudi authorities: agriculture seeds, live animals, books, periodicals, movies, and tapes; religious books and tapes; chemicals and harmful materials; pharmaceutical products; wireless equipment, and radio-controlled model airplanes; horses; products containing alcohol (e.g., perfume); natural asphalt; and archaeological artifacts. Saudi law prohibits importation of the following products: weapons, alcohol, narcotics, pork, pornographic materials, distillery equipment, retreaded or used tires, used clothing and certain sculptures.

Customs Regulations
The Department of Customs at the Ministry of Finance appraises all merchandise moving through Saudi customs ports. Although Saudi Arabia is a member of the Customs Coordination Council, Saudi Customs officers do not have the authority to do investigative work on business premises; nor do they have enforcement powers. These powers are vested in the Ministry of Interior.

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Source: U.S. Commercial Service

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