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flag Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the Arab League.

The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.

Non Tariff Barriers

Only Saudi Arabian companies, 100% owned by Saudi Arabian are authorized to import. Importers should obtain a license from the Department of Trade and Industry and consult the appropriate Ministry according to the nature of the goods to be imported.

The documentary regulation, required for the expedition of goods in Saudi Arabia is very strict: commercial invoice, certificate of origin, B/L (or airway bill), certificate of assurance (if CIF sale), SASO compliance certificate when applicable. These documents should be stamped by the following organizations: Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the exporter country, "bilateral" Chamber of Commerce, Consulate of Saudi Arabia from the exporter country.
For fruits, vegetables and semen, a phytosanitary certificate is required. For meats, a sanitary certificate is required, and should be delivered by the veterinarian services of the exporter country, as well as a slaughter certificate according to the Islamic rites, which is delivered by the Competent Islamic Authority of the exporter country. These documents should be signed either by the "bilateral" Chamber of Commerce or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Any kind of business with Israel or with companies having commercial links with Israel is prohibited.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs Classification
Saudi Arabia applies the Harmonized Customs System.
Import Procedures
Visit the website Saudi Arabia to consult all import procedures and regulations.
Importing Samples

Samples for display in shows/exhibitions are exempt from Saudi labeling and shelf life regulations, but are subject to inspection at ports of entry.

Samples must contain a commercial invoice specifying that the product is not for sale and has no commercial value.
For Further Information
Saudi Arabia Department of Customs
Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Saudi Arabia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Price is relatively important when making a purchasing decision. Generally, the Saudi Arabians like to compare before buying.
Saudis view a foreign firm’s physical presence in the Kingdom as a tangible sign of a long-term commitment and after-sales service has become an important element in developing customer loyalty. The consumer in the country has evolved, from a passive buyer who depended largely on opinions of others before purchasing a product, to a more active participant who wants the best.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
Saudi Arabian consumers are becoming more and more well-informed and sophisticated. They are not always loyal to brand names. Typical consumer is young and high-spending. The country has high per-capita income and a market-oriented economy.
Main Advertising Agencies

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector

Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer market in the GGC countries, characterized with high disposable income. The large percentage of the population aged under 25 increases the demand for a wide range of consumer goods and products.

Primarily there are three main commercially active regions in the Kingdom: the Western Region, with the city of Jeddah as the main commercial centre; the Central Region with the capital, Riyadh; and the Eastern Province, where the oil and gas industry is concentrated.

Although there is no requirement for exclusive distributorships, Saudi Ministry of Commerce policy is that all such arrangements be exclusive with respect to either geographic region or product line. Many Saudi companies are active in numerous product lines.
Market Shares

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport

Saudi Arabia has a well-developed transport infrastructure, which mainly includes airways, roadways and maritime transport.

However because of the large distances that separate Saudi Arabia's main cities, air travel is the preferred method of travel within the Kingdom. There are three major, modern international airports in the Kingdom: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in the Eastern Province. A large number of international airlines operate from these airports. In addition, there are 22 regional and local airports. Taxis, rental cars, and limousines are all readily available at airports.

Saudi Arabia also has an impressive and expanding network of highways which connect the country's major regions and cities. Driving is done on the right side of the road.

There are seven modern major ports in the cities of Jeddah, Yanbu, Dammam, Jubail, Jizan, Rabigh, and Dhiba, some with their own separate commercial and industrial facilities. The Jeddah and Dammam ports are state-of-the-art commercial ports. The Yanbu and Jubail ports are state-of-the-art major industrial ports with modern bulk cargo and container handling capabilities. Ras Tanura, an oil super-terminal on the Gulf, is one of the largest in the world.

Railway network in the Kingdom is not so well developed and is going through an expansion program.

Visit : List of Ports, 'Saudi Ports Authority'
King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh
King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah
King Fahd International Airport in the Eastern Province
Sea Transport Organizations
Saudi Ports Authority
Air Transport Organizations
General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)
Ministry of Transportation
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of oil in the world, contributing 20% to the global petroleum production. The petroleum sector accounts for 45% of the Kingdom's GDP and 90% of its export revenues. The government is encouraging private sector growth - especially in power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemicals. The private sector contributes 40% to the country's GDP.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Construction Directory - Directory provided by Construction Week Online. - Saoudi Arabia - Directory of companies in Saudi Arabia.
Ameinfo - Middle East business Information.
Eyoon - Business directory for several countries in Africa and in the Middle East.
Online jeddah - Jeddah's business directory.
The - Saudi Arabia's directory.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
2 professional associations listed for Saudi Arabia.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh
Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jeddah

Learn more about Service Providers in Saudi Arabia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Learn more about Sales in Saudi Arabia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: February 2015