Need-to-knows about shipping commercial goods
Understanding the rules and regulations governing the imports and exports of commercial goods in any
given country is essential for a successful international shipping experience. The UAE in specific has its
own rules, especially for imports, which is a must-know for any business to ensure a hassle-free shipping
procedure. Here is all you need to know about this topic.
Charges And Compliance Varies According To Trade Zones
If you are shipping goods to a free trade zone, there will be no charges for any duties or VAT. However,
they become mandatory for commercial goods shipped from a free trade zone into the mainland areas of
the UAE and to the wider GCC region.
If you import goods to non-free zone destinations, you should also comply with the requirements of the
GCC common custom laws. As a GCC member, the UAE follows this compliance to exercise control over
its imports and exports.
To ship goods into the UAE, your company should have the correct trade license issued by the
Department of Economic Development (DED) from the Emirate. If you own a foreign company in the
mainland, you can have full ownership and conduct business (including shipping), provided that your
business activity is listed in the 1000 commercial and industrial activities that are allowed for 100%
foreign ownership. If you have established your company in a free zone, you can use the free zone trade
license to ship goods into that specific free zone in the UAE.
Import Code and Declaration
Before shipping any commercial goods to the UAE, it's mandatory to obtain an import code from the
registration department of the UAE Federal Customs Authority. In some cases, you will have to provide
an original declaration document before or after the customs clear your shipment for importation. The
automated clearance service allows for the prepayment of customs duties and taxes and can also assist
with the clearance of your shipment before it arrives in the UAE.
As with the shipment of commercial goods in any country, even in the UAE, you have to provide the
conformity certificates and additional documentation to process your shipment. The type of
documentation depends on the nature of the goods, and the HS code details of the country you're
importing or from an approved laboratory. If you're importing through a shipping company in Dubai, they
will handle this documentation part on your behalf of you.
Prohibitions And Restrictions
The UAE has import prohibitions on several goods. Some of them are banned, whereas others are
restricted, which calls for special permits from the relevant authorities.
The items that are banned include,
- Goods prohibited by the GCC Common Customs or any other applicable in the UAE
- Any items used in black magic, witchcraft, or sorcery
- Controlled drugs and narcotic substances
- Counterfeit currencies
- E-cigarettes, electronic hookah
- Gambling tools, machineries or related devices
- Goods produced or made in Israel
- Items that contradict with the Islamic faith and public morals in the UAE
- Live swine
- Betel leaves
- Pirated content material
- Pornographic materials or literature
- Nylon fishing nets
- Radiation and nuclear fallout contaminated substances.
- Used and reconditioned tires
The items that are restricted include,
- Cats and dogs.
- Live animals, birds and ornamental fish
- Cooked duck eggs – Balut (Health certificate with production and expiry dates certifying that the
eggs have been produced in farms that are free from salmonella and bird flu).
- Pharmaceutical products and medical/surgical instruments and machines.
- Weapons (ammunition, explosives, fireworks, body protection, etc.,
- New vehicle tires.
- Transmitters and Radio Equipment
- Print materials, publications, and media products
- Nuclear energy-related products.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Rough diamonds.
Alongside these restrictions and prohibitions, you should also be mindful of the import regulations
concerning commercial storage when shipping goods.
As evident, shipping commercial goods in any country is bound to several laws and regulations. This is
why thoroughly understanding and following them accordingly is crucial to ensure a seamless shipping
experience for any business.