Tariff & Non-Tariff Barriers

Import Tariffs
The State of Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) established a customs union when it promulgated and implemented the Unified Customs Law and Single Customs Tariff. In accordance with GCC guidelines, the Council established a common external tariff of five percent for most imported goods. The Government of Kuwait and other GCC states reserve the right to assess certain exceptions until such time as a uniform list of goods exempt from tariff is adopted by all GCC member states. Kuwait officially approved the Single Customs Tariff on 1 April 2003, thereby setting a five percent import duty (CIF) on most goods. Exempt from the Single Customs Tariff are certain basic food and medicinal/medical items, which are duty free and tobacco products, which are assessed duty at 100 percent. Duties are to be paid in Kuwaiti Dinar.

The State of Kuwait implemented the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement (Article VII of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade) on 1 January 2001. In compliance with Article VII, Kuwait has agreed to five methods for determining customs valuation. The first criterion is based on transaction value (the price actually paid or payable plus costs and expenses). For transaction value to be applied, the parties must be unrelated. If Kuwait Customs rejects this valuation method, other valuation means can be employed such as transaction value of identical or similar goods, valuation on FOB or CIF values etc.

Customs Union
Kuwait as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council allows duty free entry of goods meeting the rule of origin criteria of the GCC. To receive preferential duty status, at least forty percent of the value added in each product in effected in a GCC member country and the capital of the producing firm is at least 51 percent owned by citizens of a GCC state.

Trade Barriers
Importers must obtain an annual import license form the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Licenses are valid for one year and allow for multiple shipments.

Import licenses for industrial machinery and spares are also required. Licenses are issued by the Industrial Development Commission of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Specific licenses are also issued from various ministries and agencies for products including firearms, explosives, drugs/pharmaceuticals, and wild/exotic animals.