Saudi Arabia’s WTO role reflects global influence, confidence, official affirms

RIYADH: Custom duty exemptions for a range of manufacturing products coming into Saudi Arabia are now in effect, as the Kingdom seeks to stimulate its industrial sector.

Raw materials, semi-processed goods and packaging materials, as well as machinery, equipment, and spare parts, are among the items which are now levy-free.

In March, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources enacted a decision aimed at alleviating the financial strain and reducing costs for businesses holding valid import licenses.

This measure, effective April 1, will facilitate the importation of specific products, which will enhance the competitiveness of these firms and bolster profitability.

This initiative will additionally enable businesses to allocate more funds toward their operations and expand production capabilities, thereby fostering growth and development within the Kingdom’s industrial sector, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency.

The ministry clarified that the extension of customs exemption also encompasses fully manufactured products as well as materials and items essential for production processes, the SPA report said.

However, the ministry added that certain items manufactured domestically, either as final products or imported as necessary materials, supported by valid justifications for exemption from customs duties, could be considered for inclusion on the list of domestic industrial capacities. 

According to the source, expanding the scope of industrial customs exemption aligns with the Kingdom’s dedication to bolstering the sector and enhancing manufacturing proficiencies. 

Additionally, this initiative resonates with the objectives outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Industrial Strategy, reaffirming the ministry’s pivotal role in stimulating, empowering, and accelerating growth within the Kingdom. 

According to the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the number of industrial units in the Kingdom experienced a 10 percent year-on-year increase in 2023, reaching a total of 11,549.

In February, Jarrah Al-Jarrah, a ministry spokesman, disclosed that these new initiatives were established with an investment of SR1.54 trillion ($48.4 billion).

This rise in the number of factories corresponds with Saudi Arabia’s overarching plan to enhance industrialization, aiming to achieve a target of 36,000 plants by 2035. Moreover, in 2023, the number of new licenses issued amounted to 1,379, with investments totaling more than SR81 billion.

The sustained growth experienced by the Kingdom’s industrial sector is underscored by the cumulative manufacturing assets reaching $132 billion since the initiation of the economic diversification strategy, Vision 2030, in 2016.

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