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Qatar Trade Barriers

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

Qatar Trade Barriers

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:57 am

Internally, Qatar maintains a variety of trade barriers, which affect
foreign investors. Import of religiously or politically sensitive items may
be banned by the Government of Qatar (GOQ). Prior to closing down the Arab Boycott of Israel Office in Doha in early 1995, the GOQ deleted unilaterally some giant foreign firms, including some U.S. corporations, from the blacklist. Qatar has lifted the secondary and tertiary aspects of the boycott and an Israeli Trade Representation Office was established in Doha. Just before the Organization of Islamic Conference meeting was due to open in November 2000 in Doha, however, in a very brief statement, the GOQ announced that the Israeli Trade Representation Office was officially closed.

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers

Tariff Rates

In accordance with the GCC Customs Union, outlined in Law No. 41/2002, Qatar imposes a five percent ad valorem tariff on the C.I.F. invoice value of most imported products, including food products. The GCC has approved exemptions for approximately four hundred goods, including: Basic food products (such as wheat, flour, rice, feed grains and powdered milk), diplomatic and consular imports, military and security products, civilian aviation, personal effects and used household items, passenger accompanied luggage and gifts, goods destined for charitable use, ships and other vessels for the transport of passengers and floating platforms, and products to be used for industrial projects. Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages are subject to 100 percent import duty.

Prohibited Imports and USG-Imposed Export Controls

A variety of sensitive items may not be imported into Qatar. The Qatar Distribution Company monopolizes the importation of alcohol. Pork and pornographic items may not be imported. Military and security items are forbidden unless licensed by local authorities. Narcotics, flammable and radioactive products are also banned, as are any products that violate trademarks or originate in boycotted countries. Qatar participates in the primary Israeli boycott; however, an Israeli Trade Representative Office is located in Doha.

Standard U.S. export controls and licensing procedures are applicable to Qatar.

Import Taxes and License Requirements

All importers are required by law to have an import license. Import licenses are issued only to Qatari nationals and must be registered with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. This regulation also applies to wholly foreign owned entities operating in Qatar.

All imported meats - beef and poultry products, require a health certificate issued by the country of export and a Halal slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic center in that country.

In 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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