Depending on the destination, the customs zone in the UAE can be classified into two zones namely the General Customs Zone and the Free Trade Zone. There are several distinguishing factors for goods entering one of these zones. In general, goods destined for the General Customs Zone are subject to obligations under the GCC Common Customs Law. Meanwhile, goods destined for the Free Trade Zone are exempted from import duty. There are about thirty-seven Free Trade Zones scattered in this country. For goods destined directly to the general customs zone in the UAE or to the Free Trade Zone destined for sale in the UAE market and / or goods re-exported to the GCC countries, import duties are subject to import duties according to the GCC Common Customs Law.
Based on this, the delivery of goods is possible from one member country to another GCC member country without being subject to import duties again when the goods arrive at the customs territory of another member country. However, the Export Statistics Declaration received by the GCC member country where the goods are in transit, must be included and must be legalized by the customs at the place of transit with a “Makasa Stamp” (set-off mechanism) when the goods enter the customs area of other GCC members who are the final destination of the item. This is done to avoid paying import duties again when the goods arrive at the country of final destination. An “Import to Local from GCC” declaration document is required for this type of shipment.
Goods imported into the Free Trade Zone are exempt from the obligation of import duty. In addition, re-exports from the UAE Free Trade Zone to third market destinations outside the GCC customs zone are also exempt from any obligations. However, a deposit or guarantee from a bank which is equivalent to the amount of the rate applicable to the goods must be pledged as a substitute for import duty. For this procedure, the required declaration document is “Import for Re-Export to Local from ROW”. This document is only required for shipments of goods that have a value higher than AED 20,000 or approximately USD 5,500 with the exception of vehicle-type items.
There are no duty-free provisions regulating the entry of component parts or factory machinery parts. However, because the import duty costs for these types of goods are relatively low, this is not a major obstacle for the manufacturing industry in this country. In general, imports of goods into the UAE for re-export purposes within six months are exempt from import duties. However, the UAE customs requires a deposit or application for a bank guarantee as long as the goods are in the UAE customs area. The deposit or bank guarantee will be returned or issued by the UAE customs authorities after the goods have been re-exported. Any goods that are in the UAE customs area for more than six months will be subject to excise rates as applicable.