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Qatar Import Licenses

Qatar's trade barriers, temporary entry, tariff rates, standards, documentation, business travel, and other import requirements.

Qatar Import Licenses

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:54 am

All importers are required by law to have an import license for almost all products. Such import licenses are issued only to Qatari nationals. Even in the case of joint ventures between foreign and Qatari partners, agency/dealership agreements issued by foreign suppliers can be registered only in the name of the Qatari partner in the Commercial Registration Department of the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Commerce. Foreign investors entering into a joint venture with Qatari partners are allowed a maximum of 49 percent interest in the business.

Taken together, the above represents a formidable array of privileges and preferences, which disadvantage a foreign investor in the Qatari market. Despite stated fines and penalties, the practice of a Qatari illegally lending his name to a foreign-owned/operated business has been common, but on a reduced scale in recent

All imported beef and poultry products require a health certificate from the country of origin and a halal slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic center in the country of origin.

Special Import Requirements:

Current laws and regulations of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture and the Ministry of Public Health require labeling and marking requirements to be honored, especially where import of foodstuffs is concerned. Qatar enforces shelf life standards for about 75 food products. Production and expiry dates must be printed on the original label or container by the manufacturer. Products must arrive at the destination within half the shelf-life duration. Suppliers should work closely with their local importers to ensure compliance with local shelf-life requirements. Shelf life validity of all foodstuffs should not be less than six months, as of date of entry of the products into Qatar. All foodstuffs are examined at the State-owned and State-regulated Central Laboratories before they reach consumers. Import and distribution of alcoholic liquor is strictly controlled, through an arrangement between the Customs Department and the British Embassy in Doha. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be imported into Qatar by any other means. Additionally, in accordance with Islamic laws and traditions, pork and pork derivatives are not allowed to be brought into the country. Qatar has yet to comply with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement of the WTO.

All imported beef and poultry products require a health certificate from the country of origin and a halal slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic center in the country of origin. As is the case with other products, importers of foodstuffs should have an import license, which is issued only to Qatari nationals by the government. All shipping documents must be legalized by a Qatar Embassy or consulate in the country of origin.

Qatar, the letter of credit (L/C) is the most common instrument for controlling exports and imports. When an L/C is opened, the supplier is required to provide a certificate of origin, and a certificate from the captain of the ship or from the shipping agency stating that the ship is allowed to enter Arab ports. An Arab Embassy or Consulate or an Arab Chamber of Commerce should notarize both documents in the exporting country.

A letter of credit initiated in Qatar is usually endorsed with transshipment clauses. Most of the goods imported into Qatar from the U.S. and elsewhere come via the nearby ports of Dubai and Sharjah, both in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Transshipment clauses serve the purpose of advancing those goods from the U.A.E. to Qatar by land (by truck) and/or sea (by barge). It is customary in Qatar for importers to build their L/C’s computations on “cost and freight (C&F)” basis, and not “cost, insurance and freight (C.I.F.)”. Qatari merchants prefer to have insurance coverage provided by local and international insurance companies, to cover damage in transit to the goods covered under the L/C.
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