Country Facts
28 Millon (2016)*
Middle East
Saudi Riyals (SAR)  ﷼


*Source: The CIA World Factbook

Trade Indicators
Largest economy in the Gulf region
2nd largest U.S. goods export market in the Gulf region
U.S.’ 23rd largest goods trading partner
Gulf Region’s largest IT market
World’s largest exporter of petroleum

Top Industry Export Opportunities


Saudi Arabia is the largest auto and auto parts market in the Middle East, accounting for an estimated 40 percent of all vehicles sold in the region. Saudi Arabia imported approximately 1 million vehicles (passenger cars, commercial vehicles and light trucks) in 2016. The Kingdom is the largest importer of U.S. automotive products and parts in the region, with some of these imports being re-exported. There are good opportunities for U.S. companies in the following sub-sectors: tires and tubes; workshop tools; service equipment; body and chassis parts; automobile transmission and drive train and spare parts; automotive chemicals, lubricants, oils, adhesives; car batteries; maintenance and diagnostic equipment; brakes and emission systems tools; car accessories, electronics & electrical components.

Healthcare & Pharmaceutical

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accounts for 59.4 percent the purchases of pharmaceuticals were products in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia’s expenditures on pharmaceuticals were valued at around $6.9 billion in 2016. Major factors affecting the pharmaceutical market are the Kingdom’s growing population, the increase in per capita spending on health care services, and the propensity to purchase more expensive patented products. Pharmaceuticals including diabetic care, cardiovascular drugs, antibiotics, and generics offer the best prospects. The majority of vehicles and parts sold in the country are imported. Aftermarket parts for off-road vehicles and SUV’s have excellent potential in Saudi Arabia.

Information and Communication Technology

Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications connectivity includes nearly 4 million fixed lines and 52.7 million mobile handsets. The kingdom is one of the largest social media markets in the Middle East, accounting for over 40% of all active Twitter users in the region. The country also accounts for 10% of all Facebook users in the region and has the highest per-capita YouTube use worldwide. The government is seeking to develop new digital infrastructure, so Saudi Arabia will need a significant amount of imported technology. Best prospects include: DSL access switches, enabling multi-service transmission equipment; fiber-optic satellite links; wideband transceivers; network protocol software and systems; broadband wireless access systems “Wi Max with 2.5 and 3.5 GHz“ with two type 16D and 16E; and education and training in satellite technology, repair/maintenance of telecom handsets, and hardware/software development.

Trade Regulations & Customs Information

Import Tariffs: As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia applies the GCC common external tariff of 5 percent for most products, with a limited number of GCC-approved country-specific exceptions.  Saudi Arabia’s exceptions include 758 products that may be imported duty-free, including aircraft and most livestock. The Saudi government also applies a 12 percent tariff on 207 products, in some cases to protect local industries. Certain textile imports are among the products on which the 12 percent rate applies.  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 percent, while tariffs on over 90 percent of agricultural products will be set at 15 percent or lower.

Import Requirements and Documentation: Under its WTO obligations, Saudi Arabia has committed to implement a transparent and predictable import licensing system.  The Government of Saudi Arabia requires that local chambers of commerce around the United States perform the authentication of shipping documents.  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 quantity 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. The original documents must be accompanied by an Arabic translation of a radiation certificate, if applicable.

Customs Regulations:
The Department of Customs at the Ministry of Finance appraises all merchandise moving through Saudi customs ports. Import valuation is primarily used for collection of import duties and often does not reflect the actual transaction value. Saudi customs valuation procedures are not WTO- consistent, nor are they based on invoice value. Minimum prices are used, and customs agents rely on their own experience and local prices, as well as some contact with manufacturers, to assess import tariffs.

U.S. Export 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.

Source: The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce

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