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Understanding Saudi Arabia’s New Import Certification Scheme

Understanding Saudi Arabia’s New Import Certification Scheme

Global businesses exporting to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will soon have some relief from the burdensome export documentation required by the country’s customs agency, and will soon be able to lean more on their import partners to acquire and complete mandatory certificates. 

Saudi Arabia is in the process of implementing changes to the decades-old process for certifying consumer goods imported into the country.

The Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) oversees the system for the development of standards applicable within Saudi Arabia. All imported consumer goods must be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity establishing compliance with SASO standards and specifications, or the consignment is subjected to laboratory testing to verify conformity with SASO standards before clearing customs at import.

This means that businesses intending to export goods to Saudi Arabia must obtain a Certificate of Conformity for each shipment bound for Saudi Arabia. The certificates are usually issued by bodies accredited by SASO or an accredited laboratory. Accreditation bodies certified by members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) are also eligible to issue conformity certificates.

Most exporters to Saudi Arabia as well as traders in Saudi Arabia have long lived with the pain of the time-consuming process of obtaining a certificate of conformity for each shipment bound for Saudi Arabia. Once goods were ready for export, and invoices raised, exporters had to engage the services of an approved body to obtain a certificate of conformity before the shipment could leave for Saudi Arabia. This requirement, when combined with the requirements of attestation and legalisation of invoices and certificates of origin, led to a situation where considerable levels of inventory were being held immobile within the supply chain even after goods were ready for shipping with resulting undesirable increases to business in working capital requirements. Businesses have not shied away from referring to these process bottle necks as non-tariff barriers to trade.

The system is now bound for changes, albeit of an incremental nature.

SALEEM, the new certification scheme is expected to replace the Saudi Conformity Assessment program. It will operate through SASO’s newly implemented electronic, online service called SABER which has been created to streamline certification for imports into Saudi Arabia.

The scheme provides two types of certification. The first type is a certificate of conformity called the Product Certificate of Conformity (Product CoC). This certificate will be issued by registered certification bodies upon successful completion of tests and verifications of a product and will be valid for three years. The certificate confirms that a product complies with the technical standards and specifications issued by SASO.

The second type of certificate of conformity is called the Shipment Certificate of Conformity (Shipment CoC). This will be issued for each shipment, is valid only for that shipment, and is very much like the current certification scheme. This certificate confirms that all products within a shipment hold a valid Product Certificate of Conformity. Both the Product CoC and the Shipment CoC are mandatory before a shipment can be cleared for import into Saudi Arabia.

The main difference between the certification systems is that the certification required prior to import can be obtained online by the importer based inside the country. Importers will be connected through the SABER system to conformity assessment bodies and will be able to request and obtain Product CoCs through the system. 

Once shipments are ready for export, importers can use the system to request and obtain Shipment CoCs online from certifying bodies. It is expected that Shipment CoCs will be issued within a very short time for products that hold a Product CoC. Online availability of Product and Shipment CoCs is therefore expected to shorten the time lines required for import clearance.

Although it was announced that conformity certification through the SABER system would be mandatory for the import of all consumer products after its introduction in January 2019, news reports suggest implementation has only been partially successful. Use of the system for obtaining conformity certificates is currently voluntary for most products, and conformity certificates under the old regime continue to be issued and used for import into Saudi Arabia. 

Only a few product groups such as gas appliances and accessories, toys, low-voltage electrical equipment, and lubricating oils currently require mandatory certification through SABER. 

Authorities are encouraging the use of the system by prioritizing the clearance of those imports holding conformity certificates issued through the SABER system. There have also been reports of linking the SABER system to FASAH, an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System that will be used to exchange data electronically between Saudi Customs, ports, airports and private and public operators. Such a linkage can further enhance the efficiency of processing of imports into Saudi Arabia.

Businesses are hopeful that although it has been a slow start for the SALEEM certification scheme and the SABER system, a full implementation will eventually reduce the timelines required to import goods into Saudi Arabia, and consequently, the working capital requirements for businesses trading with, and within Saudi Arabia.  

 

JC Pachakkil is a senior consultant in Global Trade Management at customs broker and trade services firm Livingston International.

Asia’s Apple Market: China Dominates Exports Despite a Slight Contraction

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘Asia – Apple – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2018, the apple market size in Asia amounted to $62.1B (in wholesale price). The total market indicated a strong increase from 2008 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +3.1% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, the apple consumption increased by +16.7% against 2014 indices. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2014, when the market value increased by 24% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the apple market reached its maximum level in 2018, and is likely to see steady growth in the near future.

Production in Asia

In 2018, the amount of apples produced in Asia amounted to 56M tonnes, going up by 3.5% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% over the period from 2008 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2011, when the output figure increased by 9% y-o-y. The volume of apple production peaked in 2018, and is likely to continue its growth in the near future.

The general positive trend in terms of apple output was largely conditioned by a noticeable expansion of the harvested area and a modest growth in yield figures.

Exports in Asia

In 2018, approx. 1.3M tonnes of apples were exported in Asia; lowering by -3.7% against the previous year. Over the period under review, apple exports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2013, when exports increased by 26% y-o-y. In that year, apple exports attained their peak of 1.7M tonnes. From 2014 to 2018, the growth of apple exports failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, apple exports amounted to $1.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +4.1% over the period from 2008 to 2018; the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2016, when exports increased by 21% year-to-year. In that year, apple exports attained their peak of $1.4B. From 2017 to 2018, the growth of apple exports failed to regain its momentum.

Exports by Country

China dominates apple exports structure, accounting for 701K tonnes, which was near 55% of total exports in 2018. Turkey (108K tonnes) ranks second in terms of the total exports with a 8.5% share, followed by Iran (8.5%) and Azerbaijan (7.1%). China, Hong Kong SAR (39K tonnes), Afghanistan (38K tonnes), Lebanon (37K tonnes), Japan (34K tonnes), Syrian Arab Republic (20K tonnes) and Israel (20K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2008 to 2018, average annual rates of growth with regard to apple exports from China stood at -3.3%. At the same time, Turkey (+25.7%), Afghanistan (+16.6%), Iran (+8.7%), Israel (+6.7%) and China, Hong Kong SAR (+1.1%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Turkey emerged as the fastest growing exporter in Asia, with a CAGR of +25.7% from 2008-2018. Japan and Lebanon experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Azerbaijan (-3.0%) and Syrian Arab Republic (-4.5%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. While the share of China (22%) and Azerbaijan (2.6%) increased significantly in terms of the global exports from 2008-2018, the share of Afghanistan (-2.3%), Iran (-4.8%) and Turkey (-7.6%) displayed negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, China ($845M) remains the largest apple supplier in Asia, comprising 67% of total apple exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Turkey ($79M), with a 6.2% share of total exports. It was followed by Iran, with a 5.1% share.

Export Prices by Country

The apple export price in Asia stood at $1,001 per tonne in 2018, going up by 10% against the previous year. The export price indicated a remarkable growth from 2008 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +4.9% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, the apple export price increased by +37.4% against 2013 indices. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014, when the export price increased by 22% year-to-year. The level of export price peaked in 2018, and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Export prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest export price was Israel ($1,530 per tonne), while Azerbaijan ($423 per tonne) was amongst the lowest. From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of export prices was attained by Afghanistan, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports in Asia

In 2018, apple imports in Asia totaled 2.4M tonnes, lowering by -17.3% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.3% over the period from 2008 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2015, when imports increased by 14% y-o-y. The volume of imports peaked at 2.9M tonnes in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, apple imports amounted to $2.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total imports indicated a prominent expansion from 2008 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +3.3% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010, with an increase of 18% year-to-year. The level of imports peaked at $2.7B in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Imports by Country

In 2018, India (267K tonnes), Taiwan, Chinese (180K tonnes), China, Hong Kong SAR (167K tonnes), Indonesia (163K tonnes), Saudi Arabia (150K tonnes), Thailand (142K tonnes), the Philippines (134K tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (107K tonnes), Viet Nam (106K tonnes), Kazakhstan (101K tonnes), Iraq (99K tonnes) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (94K tonnes) were the largest importers of apples in Asia, achieving 71% of total import.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth. In value terms, India ($264M), Taiwan, Chinese ($245M) and China, Hong Kong SAR ($198M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, with a combined 31% share of total imports. These countries were followed by Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Kazakhstan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iraq, which together accounted for a further 43%.

Import Prices by Country

The apple import price in Asia stood at $965 per tonne in 2018, growing by 3% against the previous year. Over the period from 2008 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.3%. There were significant differences in the average import prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest import price was Taiwan, Chinese ($1,362 per tonne), while Iraq ($194 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of import prices was attained by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

Lords of War: Visualizing the Global Arms Trade Network

Selling weapons to other countries is big business. It’s so lucrative that President Trump famously refused to cancel an American arms deal with Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. So just how big is the international market?

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the World Bank keep detailed figures on international arms imports and exports, counting every major conventional weapon from missiles to radar systems and military airplanes. We used the latest available complete data, sometimes going as far back as 2016 for some countries, to create a unique set of maps. The larger a country appears, the more arms it imports or exports. Plus, we added a color-coded outer ring corresponding to the level of each country’s contribution.

Let’s start by looking at who’s selling the most weapons. The U.S. stands out as the world leader by a long shot, shipping well over $12B in arms to other countries. To be sure, a significant amount of American arms exports go to Israel, but there are several other large customers across the Middle East as well, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.

To understand the extent to which Americans dominate the international market for weapons, just look around the world. The second most prolific exporter, Russia, only sees half as much business ($6.15B). France ($2.16B) is the only other country topping $2 billion, with the rest of the major players from Western Europe contributing less. Israel for its part is actually a net exporter of arms ($1.26B exports vs. $528M imports). And China, despite being the second largest economy in the world, only exports some $1.13B. There is only one country from Africa on our map (South Africa at $74M), and only a couple from Latin America. This means that developed countries in the West are, by far, the biggest exporters of arms around the world.

But let’s see who’s buying all those weapons. The world map of importers looks radically different from the exporters. For starters, Saudi Arabia and India are major players, soaking up some $4.11B and $3.36B of the market, respectively. Each country is surrounded by a smattering of other countries making big purchases too.

There are lots of reasons why some countries are major importers. There’s efficiency in a global market where a country can simply purchase weapons as opposed to manufacturing everything at home. Why would Australia, for example, try to build military aircraft when it can simply buy them from the U.S.? There are also lots of regional conflicts pressuring countries to spend top dollar for the latest military technologies, like India and Pakistan. And then there are a number of disreputable countries led by strongmen or oligarchies. They have their own agenda, and clearly they’re willing to spend big bucks for the best weapons.

Data: Table 1.1

Middle East Facility Opens for Peli Biothermal

Global temperature controlled packaging company, Peli Biothermal, announced next steps in its global expansion efforts with the opening of the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia drop point. The announcement follows the companies goals of expanding its global footprint, primarily in the Middle Eastern region.
Additionally, the new drop point puts the company one step closer to meeting their goal to exceed 100 network stations and drop points for its rental program for 2019.
“Our Crēdoon Demand rental program is designed to provide our customers with options,” said Dominic Hyde, vice president of Crēdo on Demand. “Adding another drop point in key logistics hubs in the Middle East will allow our customers in pharmaceutical distribution the flexibility and convenience to choose the best drop-off location for their business needs.”
The new location benefits PeliBio Thermal’s Crēdo™ on Demand rental program by increasing available drop points, providing opportunities for growth in the region. The new facility will provide protection for globally transported payloads containing life sciences and pharmaceuticals.

Source: Peli Biothermal

US-Based Univar Forms Saudi Joint Venture

Redmond, WA – Chemical distributor Univar Inc. has created a joint venture with E.A. Juffali & Brothers, a major player in chemicals and other industries based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The new operation will be a full distribution business headquartered in the country’s Eastern Province.

The joint venture between Univar and E.A. Juffali & Brothers “helps both companies grow their presence around the world, giving Univar critical access to markets across the Middle East to better serve their customers in the region,” the company said.

The joint venture will distribute chemicals across industries, including personal care, oil and gas, food, coatings, and household, institutional and industrial cleaners.

Univar is one of the world’s leading distributors of industrial and specialty chemicals and related chemistry services representing more than 3,500 chemical producers through a network of 260 distribution facilities throughout North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America.

The company also maintains international sales offices in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and reported sales of $10.3 billion in 2012.

06/06/2014