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Import requirements and documentation

Imports to Kuwait require three certified and legalized copies of the commercial invoice, three copies of the Bill of Lading (airway bill), and a Certificate of Origin.

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.

Prohibited imports

Kuwait prohibits the importation of pork, pork products, alcoholic beverages, products containing alcoholic beverages, gambling machines and materials that could be considered pornographic. Kuwait also prohibits imports from Israel and imports of Israeli-made products.

Temporary entry

Products imported into Kuwait that do not comply with established standards and regulations may be allowed a three-month temporary entry against storage fees. If the exporter fails to correct the fault, the goods will either be re-exported at the exporters expense, or will be auctioned. Goods coming into Kuwait for transshipment may be allowed temporary entry. In addition, goods being imported for trade shows or exhibitions can be entered via a temporary import bond. However, temporary import bonds can be very expensive to secure and many exhibitors have found it less costly to simply pay the five percent tariff, even for goods that will be re-exported.

Free trade zones (FTZ)/ Warehouses

In July 1995, the National Assembly passed a law (Law No. 26 of 1995) authorizing the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to establish free trade zones in Kuwait. In June 1996 the Ministry received proposals from Kuwaiti private firms to operate, manage and market Kuwaits Free Zone at Shuwaikh port. The contract was awarded to the National Real Estate Company (NREC) in the fall of 1996. On May 17, 1998, the Cabinet approved awarding and signing the agreement which gives the government 80 percent of the profits if NREC utilizes the Port Authoritys facilities and only 10 percent if it does not. The Kuwait Free Trade Zone at Shuwaikh Port opened in 1999 and covers 1.7 million square meters. The FTZ is divided into three main sections: trade, services and industry and includes warehouses, exhibition grounds, banks, cargo companies and insurance companies. A trade center will also be built inside the FTZ to house exhibit and display facilities.

Warehouses are available in Kuwait not only in Shuwaikh but also at Shuaiba and in large refrigerated warehouses in other locations. Several leading importers also have their own warehousing facilities.

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