Understanding Saudi Arabia’s Import Certification Scheme: SALEEM SABER

Setting the Context for Saudi Arabia’s Import Certification Scheme, SALEEM SABER

The last few decades have witnessed a surge in inter-global trades, an event linked to several trade initiatives such as lower trade tariffs and the eradication of quota systems. Governments too have faced significant amounts of pressure from various trading systems including the emergence of electronic business platforms that have resultantly demanded efficient and effective cross border clearance procedures.

Over time, governments have realized that much of their import trading endeavors largely depend on effective and efficient importation processes. Trading bottlenecks such as lengthy clearance processes, redundancy, multiple document requirements and the lack of transparency in applied rules and regulations have proved to be costly and a reason for their dismantlement.

Setting the Context for Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was no exception to such trading constraints. Under its previous trading program, trading authorities in the country demanded the provision of a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) for all consumer related products exported to KSA. The CoC acted as a passport or a document that certified that all goods coming into the country were successfully tested and inspected and equally met the country’s importation standards of quality and safety. Keen to note is that the goods certification process was handled via licensed third party companies.

Introduction of  SALEEM SABER

Nonetheless, since Feb 2019, the country has seen the implementation of a new and efficient trading program. Dubbed as the Saudi Product Safety Program (SALEEM), the program facilitates a better and smoother importation process that still observes KSA’s high importation standards of quality and safety. An online-based service, SALEEM seeks to speed up the import application process while also reducing possible chances of fraudulent activities.

SALEEM SABER Certification Step 1: Product Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

Unlike before, the new scheme demands two certifications on all consignments arriving into Saudi Arabia. The first required importation document is Product CoC. This document certifies that all products entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are compliant with all applicable technical standards and regulations as set by the regulating agency SASO. The Product CoC is valid for a period of one year after which importers are required to renew their certifications.

  • The request for a Product CoC by an importer
  • The detailing of a product into the SABER system. This process demands the adherence of all product details in accordance with Saudi Arabia Customs Tariff Code.
  • The selection of certifying bodies
  • The payment of needed fees
  • Conformity assessment and substantiating exercises
  • The issuance of a Product CoC from the SABER system.

SALEEM SABER Certification Step 2: Shipment Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

The second required document is the Shipment CoC. This document comes accompanied by the Product CoC. It mainly acts as a supporting document for shipment, in that; it offers proof that each of the goods under shipment holds a valid Product CoC. The Shipment CoC is therefore effective for a specific shipment only. The steps followed in acquiring a Shipment CoC are as follows:

  • Importer creates a request for a shipment certification,
  • Required payments are made,
  • Third-party certification companies verify and confirm the existence of a valid Product CoC,
  • Shipment CoC is finally issued.

SASO Accredited Agencies Issuing Certificate of Conformity

The above two certification documents are mandatory for all importers and their lack may lead to severe consequences. Importers are highly likely to face extensive delays, penalties, and a possible re-exportation scenario if either of the documents misses. Also, important is that importation companies based in KSA are now responsible for registering their companies, products, and shipments on the SABER system unlike before where exporters were largely held responsible for such duties.

As noted before, KSA involves third party companies in issuing any of the two certification documents. However, it may surface as a problem for importing companies to identify authorized third party companies responsible for verifying and offering the needed compliant documents. KSA’s importation agency SASO identifies agencies like Intertek, TUV, BV, SGS, QIMA, and NEMKO accredited for doing most of the technical regulations. Altogether, it is advisable that importing parties gather proper intel before settling on any agency.

Conclusion: SALEEM SABER Mandatory for All Imports in Saudi Arabia

We can hardly devalue the benefits of technology and innovations. Trading too benefits from such innovations, subsequently standing out as a key prerequisite in improving a country’s economic growth. Businesses based in KSA are hopeful that the new SALEEM scheme will play a huge role in smoothening the importation process for all players involved. This is despite the sluggish start seen back in 2019 during the system’s initialization stages.

Earlier trading bottlenecks such as prolonged verification schedules, costly verification processes will be kept at bay resultantly improving the trading environment and setting KSA in a better position to conduct its international trades. Reports do also highlight an interlink between SABER and various KSA’s custom points including airports, seaports as well as public and private operators. Such a move will boost the importation process efficiencies to heights unprecedented before.

We at Abdui Cargo has the necessary skills and capabilities to help your business obtain SALEEM SABER certification, you can contact us today.

3 thoughts on “Understanding Saudi Arabia’s Import Certification Scheme: SALEEM SABER”

  1. Youre so insightful, have so much real stuff to bring to the table. I hope that more people read this and get what I got from it: chills. great job and great web site. I cant wait to read more, keep em comin!

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