UPDATE 12 June 2020
Since the publication of this article, Saudi Customs has postponed the implementation of the new import duties until an unspecified future date.
Around 2,000 products, including food items, will have import duty increases imposed on them by the Saudi Government to the maximum allowable limit under the World Trade Organisation rules.
The increase will apply from 10 June 2020 and will see tariffs on seafood products imported into Saudi Arabia increase from an average rate of 0-5% to an average rate of 6-12%.
While some seafood products will only see a marginal increase, some Tilapia, Catfish, Seabass and Seabream, shrimp and prawn products will move from being exempt to being taxed by up to 12%. Paired with Saudi Arabia’s upcoming tripling of VAT rate to 15% from 1 July, some imported items could see a combined price increase of up to 25%.
To compare import duty rates for the seafood commodity codes affected, please read this guidance from Saudi customs.
In 2017, the UK exported around £1.9 million of seafood to Saudi Arabia, dropping to around £1 million in 2018. The UK predominantly exports Salmon, Cod and Lobster products to the country.*
Any import rate increase may represent an unexpected rise in costs for UK seafood exporters. They are therefore recommended to review their current product list in order to evaluate the impact of the rate increases on their business.
*Seafish Market Insight Data