Importing Goods in Qatar
Importing Goods in Qatar
If your business in Qatar relies on imports, you obviously need to understand how the imports process works. Qatar has strict regulations in place regarding imports, exports and trade, as set by the General Authority of Customs (GAC), which is the government authority responsible for monitoring importation and exportation of goods within Qatar in accordance with legislation.
Understanding these regulations and how to abide by them will make the imports process run much smoother for you and your business. So, what do you need to know? In this post we’ll provide all the essential info regarding imports in Qatar, including customs clearance requirements, processes, documentation and customs duties.
What do you need to import goods in Qatar?
When importing goods to Qatar, you will need to have a variety of documentation in place. This includes a valid Commercial Registration (CR), Trade License (TL), Establishment Card (EC) and Import Code. You must have an activity on the license for the goods being imported, specifying what you are trading in, and you must obtain an Import Code.
The GAC requires all importers obtain a Harmonised System (HS) Code, which is an international system for classifying traded products. This must be linked to the trader’s Commercial Registration and Import License. The description of the imported goods and HS code of the item being imported must be included in the official invoices and Certificate of Origin (COO).
In terms of paperwork for each specific import, you will need an Original COO and Commercial Invoice (CI). It’s best if these are both fully attested at Chamber of Commerce and Qatar Embassy in the country of origin. The Packing list (PL) original is not required, but is good to have. The Original Airway Bill (AWB) will be received from the airline with the shipment.
It’s worth bearing in mind that hand-written documents are not accepted, and any amendments on documents after attestation will not be accepted unless there is a correction stamp from the attesting body. Qatar Customs reserves the right to request all commercial documents to be translated into Arabic. If this request is made, you must provide the translation.
As for regulations regarding contents of shipments, all perishable goods must have a production date and expiry date clearly stated, while dangerous goods require a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) form. If the shipment contains any steel structures, you must obtain an approval from Qatar Steel to import the item.
‘Made In’ or ‘Country of Origin’ labelling must be fixed to each item being imported, on materials and on cartons. This labelling info should match the information on the Commercial Invoice and COO, as any discrepancies will cause the shipment to be returned to its place of origin.
What will you pay in custom duties?
Most goods imported into Qatar are subject to customs duties. These are based on a percentage value of the goods (typically 5%), or a per unit basis. The value of goods is calculated according to the Regulations under the Customs and Ports Law.
- General Cargo: 5%
- Steel: 20%
- Urea & ammonia: 30%
- Cigarettes, tobacco and its derivatives: 100% or QR1,000 per 10,000 cigarettes, whichever is higher
Certain items are exempt from customs duties, such as personal effects and household items, imports of charitable organisations and returned goods, and items covered by diplomatic and military exemptions. Goods cleared for ‘free zones’ and duty-free shops are not subject to customs levies.
Want to find out more about customs duties and the various processes involved in importing goods to Qatar? Check out ‘Al-Nadeeb’. Designed to simplify the customs clearance procedure, this is an online resource that allows users to check information about tariffs, to calculate duty and carry out other tasks.
Which goods are prohibited?
Importing certain goods to Qatar is prohibited. Prohibited goods include:
- Flammable goods,
- Radioactive materials,
- Ammunition and explosives,
- Narcotic drugs,
- Goods from economically boycotted countries,
- Goods that infringe rules relating to commercial, industrial, artistic, or intellectual property rights,
- Generally prohibited goods, such as alcohol, pork and e-cigarettes.
What happens when goods arrive in Qatar?
All commercial shipments are subject to examination by the GAC prior to clearance. So, when goods arrive in Qatar through its various ports (which include Hamad International Airport, Mesaieed Port, Doha Port and Ras Laffan), they may be inspected or examined, typically in the presence of the owner or representative.
However, goods that are suspicious, prohibited or improperly declared may be opened in the absence of the owner if the owner fails to show at the pre-notified time. It’s worth bearing in mind that if examination is warranted, the cost of transportation to the place of examination, plus the cost of packing and repacking are at the expense of the owner.
If examination shows that there is a discrepancy between the goods and the customs declaration, the owner will need to cover additional taxes and duties, as well as a fine. On the other hand, if goods are found to be harmful, dangerous or not permitted, they may be destroyed or re-exported.
How can Fusion help?
While you may be new to Qatar – or simply new to the imports process – Fusion is not.
Fusion Support Services are experts in this field, and are on hand to advise your Qatar business, while also providing you with details regarding any changes to import processes and procedures as and when they happen.
If you want to find out how Fusion can simplify the process of importing goods to Qatar by providing clear guidance and expert support, contact us.