3 May 2019
SAUDI ARABIA: New Import Certification Scheme Now in Place
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Investment has introduced a new product certification programme for all imported consumer-related regulated products. The new programme falls under the authority of the Saudi Standards Metrology and Quality Organisation (SASO) and is intended to ensure that products comply with the applicable technical standards and regulations and that customs clearance is managed more efficiently. A regulated product in this instance is a type of product for which SASO has issued regulations and/or standards.
SASO has released technical regulations for various product categories, such as Children’s Toys; Electrical Equipment and Appliances; Building Materials and Construction Products, and Electrical Batteries. A full list of these technical regulations is available on its website.
The new programme, SALEEM, came into force on 1 February 2019, and replaces the previous system under which all consumer-related products only required a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) issued by an approved conformity assessment body, to accompany consignments of products for entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Under the new requirements, all shipments arriving into the KSA will require both a Product CoC and a Shipment CoC. The Product CoC certifies that a regulated product complies with the applicable technical standards and regulations set by SASO, whereas the Shipment CoC, which is only valid for a specific shipment, certifies that each regulated product in the shipment has a valid Product CoC. To speed up the process for issuing both CoCs and for subsequent customs clearance, SASO has developed an online platform – SABER – through which CoC applications can be made.
To apply for a product CoC via the platform, importers must first register themselves and the products to be imported on SABER. The importer can then apply for a Product CoC by selecting an approved Conformity Assessment Body and then uploading any necessary documents. A full list of bodies approved as part of the Conformity Assessment Program is available on the SASO website.
The application is then checked to ensure that the product complies with the applicable technical standards, and, upon payment of any fees, the Product CoC will be issued. The Product CoC is valid for one year. Once a Product CoC has been issued, the importer can then apply for a Shipment CoC on SABER by uploading the requisite documents and paying the fee.
Both CoCs are now mandatory. A consignment of products arriving at a Saudi port without the required documentation will be prevented from receiving customs clearance and the Saudi Market Surveillance Authorities may order the re-exportation of the products to their country of origin; their destruction or may issue fines against the entity responsible for their importation.
As a result of the new requirements, it is important that international companies exporting regulated products to KSA liaise with their appropriate conformity assessment body to ensure that they now meet all of the required conditions for the body to issue CoCs via the SABER system.