Qatar flag Qatar: Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of Qatar

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area. 

Non Tariff Barriers

Qatar has no import quotas, however, non-tariff barriers arise occasionally.

  • For instance, unlicensed military and security items are not allowed.  Furthermore, a ban on pork was maintained until late 2011 but was lifted in 2012. The sale of pork remains heavily regulated and sales are restricted to only one distribution point managed by the Qatar Distribution Company (QDC).
  • With certain exceptions, Qatar’s foreign investment law limits foreign ownership of local entities to 49% of the entity’s capital. However, foreign investors may own 100% of an entity’s capital in sectors such as agriculture, industry, health care, education, tourism, and the exploitation and development of natural resources subject to approval by the Government of Qatar. Foreign investors must receive permission from the Government of Qatar to invest in the banking and insurance sectors.  
  • Foreign investment is not allowed in commercial agencies and real estate, although there are limited opportunities for foreigners to own interest (and have rights in land use) in select residential real estate projects for a term of 99 years renewable upon government approval.
  • Bank loans are based on market terms with priority given to local organizations for the purpose of public development projects.
  • Qatar gives preferential treatment to suppliers using local content in bids for government procurement. Bids for government contracts that contain goods with Qatari content are discounted by 10% and goods from other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council receive a 5% discount. 
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
In accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Union, outlined in Law No. 41/2002 and implemented as the GCC Unified Customs Law on January 1, 2003, Qatar imposes a 5% ad valorem tariff on the cost, insurance and freight (C.I.F.) invoice value of most imported products, including food products.
There remain some exceptions and limitations when importing into Qatar :
-    The GCC has approved exemptions for approximately 400 goods (including basic food products such as live animals, fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, wheat, flour, rice, feed grains, spices, seeds for planting 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.  
-    Customs duties of 30 % are levied on imports of urea and 15 % on imports of records and musical instruments.  
-    Pork and pork products are illegal under Qatari law.  
-    Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages are subject to a 100 % import duty.  

Note that projects funded by the Qatar Industrial Development Bank (QIDB) can be granted a customs duty waiver for the import of machinery, raw materials, and other industrial inputs.
Customs Classification
Qatar is a member of the World Customs organisation and does comply with the harmonised customs system.
Import Procedures
All importers are required by law to have an import licence. Import licences are issued only to Qatari nationals, or to the Qatari partner in a limited liability partnership. These licences must be registered with the Ministry of Business and Trade. The same applies to wholly foreign-owned entities operating in Qatar; however foreign-owned businesses in Qatar must have a Qatari partner. Imported meats, including beef and poultry products, require a health certificate issued by the country of export and a 'Halal' slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic centre in that country. In order to clear goods from customs zones at ports or land boundaries, importers must submit certain documents including a detailed customs declaration, bill of lading, certificate of origin, pro forma invoice and import licence. Information on specific requirements should be obtained from the Customs and Ports General Authority. Inspection of goods is generally conducted at customs stations or as directed by the Director-General, in the presence of the owner or his representative.
Importing Samples
There are no specific procedures for samples shipments. Sample shipments require the same set of documents as a normal shipment. The value of goods should still appear on the commercial invoice indicating "for customs clearance purpose only'' on the invoice. Zero value invoices are not acceptable.

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Qatar Customs Department

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024