The Department of Customs at the Ministry of Finance appraises all merchandise moving through Saudi customs ports. Moreover, the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) was empowered by the Saudi Council of Ministers to have a representative at nine Saudi ports of entry with Saudi Custom officials to regulate and control the entry of medical devices.
As such, medical devices are only allowed entry into Saudi Arabia through the three international airports, two main seaports in Jeddah and Dammam, and three land entry points in Batha (UAE border), Hadithah (Jordanian border), and King Fahd Causeway (Bahraini border).
Import valuation is primarily used for collection of import duties and often does not reflect the actual transaction value. Saudi customs valuation procedures are not WTO- consistent, nor are they based on invoice value. Minimum prices are used, and customs agents rely on their own experience and local prices, as well as some contact with manufacturers, to assess import tariffs. For statistical purposes, the valuation of imported merchandise is the Cost-Insurance-Freight (CIF) value or carriage and insurance paid (CIP) if merchandise is imported by intermodal container. The value of exported merchandise is based on Free On Board valuation (FOB). The Saudi tariff nomenclature is consistent with the Harmonized System. There does not seem to be a significant body of rule-making or documentation available. Appeals are frequently made orally, and an appeals committee, under the Deputy Director General of Customs, meets frequently.
Although Saudi Arabia is a member of the Customs Coordination Council, Saudi Customs officers do not have the authority to do investigative work on business premises; nor do they have enforcement powers. These powers are vested in the Ministry of Interior.
The U.S. Government, through a reimbursable arrangement with the Saudi Government, is working with Saudi authorities to upgrade customs valuation procedures. As part of its WTO accession, Saudi Arabia will bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2% and 15% on over 90% of agricultural products.