According to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA), Qatar’s total exports (including exports of domestic goods and re-exports) in April 2023 was QAR30.7 bn, mainly to China, India and South Korea. There are no duties on exports.
According to PSA, imports in April 2023 was around QAR8.7 bn, for crude materials, manufactured goods, chemicals and mineral fuels, mainly from the US, China and India.
Importers of goods into Qatar must sign up to the Importers’ Register and be approved by Qatar Chamber (QC). Customs duty and legalisation fees are levied on all commercial shipments, irrespective of its value. All goods imported into Qatar are subject to customs duties, based on a percentage value of goods (usually 5%), or on a ‘per unit’ basis. Effective from May 2021, incoming parcels and personal shipments with a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value exceeding QAR1,000 is liable to 5% customs duties (previously QAR3,000).
Customs duty tariffs fall under these categories:
- Personal effects and household items, imports of charitable organisations and returned goods, diplomatic and military exemptions, merchandise for ‘free zones’ and duty-free shops – exempt. Goods in transit may be accepted at designated stations without duty.
- General cargo, eg clothing, perfumes, cars, electronic appliances and devices – 5%.
- Steel – 20%.
- Urea and ammonia – 30%.
- Cigarettes, tobacco and its derivatives – 100% or QR1,000 per 10,000 cigarettes, whichever is higher.
Law No 25 of 2018 on Excise Tax came into effect 1 January 2019. All businesses that import, produce or store/stockpile excise goods must comply with the requirements stipulated under the law. The following goods are subject to Excise Tax:
- Tobacco products – 100%
- Carbonated drinks (non-flavoured aerated water excluded) – 50%
- Energy drinks – 100%
- Special goods – 100%
In accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Union, more than 800 goods are exempted from customs duties, alongside exemptions granted to certain bodies and persons under Customs Law No 40 of 2004. There are fees for the attestation of the Certificate of Origin (from QC) and a tariff for the attestation of the Commercial Invoice, based on shipment value.
Qatar implemented the World ATA Carnet Council in 2018, an international customs system with nearly 80 member countries, permitting the duty-free and tax-free temporary import and export of goods for up to one year. The system is being implemented by QC alongside ICC Qatar and the General Authority of Customs (GAC).
Through the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) launched in 2019, the GAC aims to develop partnership and cooperation with the private sector by granting customs benefits and facilities to companies involved in the supply chain in international trade, as per the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Trade (SAFE). To date, there are 39 companies in the import/export category and 8 in the customs clearance category.
All commercial shipments are examined by GAC prior to clearance. The Qatar Electronic Customs Clearance Single Window (Al Nadeeb) is a one-stop e‑government system to facilitate international trade. customs.gov.qa
New regulations were introduced in 2013 to prevent fake products from entering the market. All general goods must have non‑removable marking of their place of manufacture to be eligible for customs clearance. This applies to both air and sea freight. The import of vehicle tyres, spare parts and electrical home appliances has to be based on a ‘certificate of conformity’ issued by the authority concerned. All general cargo for customs clearance must be backed by an original commercial invoice on the shipper’s letterhead, with stamp and signature. They also require attestation by QC. The packing list of each consignment must have the number of pieces, weight and volume.
GAC requires all importers to obtain an HS Code, an international system for classifying traded products. This must be linked to the trader’s Commercial Registration and import licence.
There are few restrictions on bringing personal effects into Qatar. However, anyone (importers, exporters or travellers) holding local or foreign currency, precious metals or jewellery worth more than QAR50,000 must complete a customs declaration form upon entry into or departure from the country. Banned imports include alcohol, pork and e‑cigarettes. The import of pets is allowed, although certain breeds are not permitted. NB: The signing of AlUla Declaration regarding the blockade against Qatar means commercial cargo movement has resumed between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Points of Entry
Imports and exports transit via Hamad International Airport, Hamad Port, Doha Port, Mesaieed Port, Ras Laffan and the Salwa Overland Terminal.