Welcome to Ashes of Roses General Trading & Contracting
Kuwait: IMPORT & EXPORT
Kuwait does not implement any customs duties on food, agricultural
items, or essential consumer goods, or on imports of some machinery,
most spare parts, and all raw materials. The General Administration of
Customs collects a 4 percent general tariff on most imports, which
includes the cost, insurance, and freight value of the goods. The
Ministry of Commerce and Industry may impose higher protective
tariffs, up to around 25 percent, on imports that compete with goods
manufactured in smaller local industries.
Kuwait maintains high restrictive standards, which hinder the marketing
of U.S. exports. For example, shelf life requirements for processed
foods are far lower than necessary to preserve freshness in Kuwait than
they are abroad. Therefore, local merchants tend to prefer products
from suppliers closer to Kuwait, as these products are susceptible to
longer shelf life requirements. This impedes the competitiveness of U.S.
Export Subsidies Policies
Kuwait does not directly subsidize any of its exports, which consist
almost exclusively of crude oil, petroleum products, and fertilizer.
Kuwait imports almost 98 percent of the country's food products.
Some local vegetables are grown by farmers, and are subsidized by the
government; some of these vegetables are sold to nearby countries.
However, the amounts grown and sold are not significant enough to
have any real impact on local or foreign agricultural markets.
For perishable items arriving via air, land, or sea, customs clearance is
prompt and takes about three hours. To complete clearance, the
importer presents its import license and quality test certificate (see
below). Customs' evaluation of duty on the imported goods is usually
based on the value on the commercial invoice. However, if the customs
officials believe the declared value is not realistic, they may make their
Importers must obtain an annual import license from the Ministry of
Commerce and Industry. The license authorizes the import of any
amount of goods from any country on a multi-entry basis, during its
one-year term. To obtain this license, an importing company must fulfill
the following requirements:
- It must be registered in the Commercial Register at the Ministry of
Commerce and Industry, and with the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce
- The Kuwait share holding in the capital of the company must be at
A special import license is required to import certain kinds of goods,
such as firearms, explosives, drugs, and wild animals.
Only a few items being exported from Kuwait require export licenses,
and generally there are no export restrictions on Kuwaiti products. No
duties are levied on goods exported from Kuwait. Foreign contractors,
however, need a letter of clearance from the Director of Income Taxes,
Ministry of Finance, to be able to export equipment from Kuwait for
use outside Kuwait.
Imports to Kuwait from the U.S. require three certified and legalized
copies of the commercial invoice, three copies of the bill of lading (air
waybill), and a certificate of origin. The certificate of origin should:
- be duly certified by a U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the National
U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Legalization is done by the Kuwait
Consulate in New York City, or by the Kuwait Embassy in
- contain the full name of the manufacturing plant or producer as well as
the full name of the freight forwarder.
- show the means of transportation.
- indicate the country of origin.
Invoices and documents should be available to the importer before the
arrival of goods in Kuwait, as goods cannot be cleared through
customs without these documents.
Labeling and Marking Requirements
All goods imported into Kuwait must be clearly marked with the
country of origin. All foodstuffs should carry an Arabic language label
stating the name of the manufacturer, the brand name of the food
product, the name of the food product, its composition (ingredients and
additives), net and gross weight in metric units, country of origin, and its
production and expiration dates. All fats and oils used as ingredients
must be specifically identified on the label.
Kuwait prohibits the importation of pork, pork products, alcoholic
beverages, products containing alcoholic beverages, gambling
machines, and pornographic materials.
For information on types of imports and exports from Kuwait, and
other statistical information, please visit the Economy section in the
Country Profile, or visit the External Trade section in Statistics.
For valuable guides and resources concerning foreign investments, or to
order complete business guides for Kuwait, visit the links section in the
business directory or review the following guides:
E-mail email@example.com to order the
ultimate foreign investors guide
-The Kuwait Free Trade Zone Investors Guide- not only will it give
you an overview of business in Kuwait, but it will also provide details
on how to obtain a license in the Kuwait Free Zone, investment costs,
administrative costs, incentives for investment, frequently asked
questions and much more. You may even order this handbook by
writing to: P.O. Box 64585, Shuwaikh/B, 70456, Kuwait, Tel.
965-802-808 Fax. 965-482-2067
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