KUWAITLogistic and forwarding services in Kuwait
Gross national product (GNP)
USD 185.3 Mia.
GNP per person
Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 436,6 Mio.
Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 58,8 Mio.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kuwait
Switzerland officially recognised the State of Kuwait in 1961. In 1966, a Swiss ambassador was accredited in Kuwait (based at that time in Beirut) and a Kuwaiti consulate was opened in Geneva, making 2016 an occasion for both countries to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic and consular relations. Switzerland is a very popular destination for Kuwaitis both for tourism and for study. Kuwait is a key export market for Swiss goods and services.
Economic and development cooperation
Since the oil boom of the 1970s Kuwait has been a key destination for goods and services supplied by Swiss companies, whose know-how in industry and technology have in turn helped implement a number of major infrastructure projects in Kuwait.
Today Switzerland mainly exports watches, pharmaceutical products, jewellery and machinery to Kuwait. Switzerland is an important location for investment for Kuwait.
In 2000 two agreements on investment protection and double taxation came into force. In 2010 a bilateral air transport agreement dating from 1968 was updated. In 2014 a free trade agreement between EFTA and Gulf Cooperation Council states entered into effect and has been implemented by both sides since 2015.
During the visit of First Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to Switzerland in August 2016 a memorandum of understanding on development cooperation and humanitarian aid is to be signed by both countries.
Dimensions and weights
National currency 1 Kuwaiti Dinar (ID) = 1000 Fils.
ISO code: KWD
Kuwaiti importers require an import licence issued by the Ministry of Trade and Commerce for imports. This licence must be applied for on an annual basis. There are bans on the import of a range of goods (including narcotics, used tyres, gambling accessories, laser pointers, pigs). There are also restrictions or special import licences are required (e.g. for pharmaceuticals, weapons, chemical products. The import of goods from Israel and products containing goods from Israel is prohibited. Where applicable goods will be subject to import inspections. Note: there has been an increase in the punishment for providing false information about the nature (dimensions, weights, number of items, contents etc.) of goods (prison sentences of up to 1 year, fines of up to 10.000 KWD).
There are no difficulties with foreign currencies.
State export guarantees are not subject to restrictions.
Terms of payment and tenders
An irrevocable letter of credit confirmed by a German bank is standard. Documents against payment is only advisable in the case of first-class importers. Invoices in EUR, USD and GBP. Tenders with binding delivery dates.
Designations of origin
All goods must be labelled with the country of origin on the product such that the labelling cannot be removed or changed.
Canned food must be labelled in Arabic or another language indicating the content, quality class, quantity, date of manufacture and expiry date.
Any pack of cigarettes imported to Kuwait must have the following note in Arabic letters in a noticeable place in inextinguishable printed letters: “Official warning: smoking can harm your health. We advise you to quit smoking”.
The port authorities in Kuwait request coloured marking of a width of at least 30 cm for iron. It is also necessary to ensure that the name of the manufacturer and the country of origin appear in English and Arabic on the bills of lading for bound iron or wood and on both ends of the bundle. This should not be declared as an item as otherwise there may be significant difficulties with delivery.
Seaworthy packaging. Indicate the weight on boxes, cardboard boxes etc. in kg. There are special packaging regulations for insecticides and other toxins. Ask to the importer. Insufficiently packaged goods will not be processed by the port authorities.
Product samples up to a value of KWD 100 are permitted duty free, as is advertising material not imported for commercial purposes. Goods for trade fairs, exhibitions and the like can be imported temporarily free of charge in return for the payment of a security. Gift shipments totalling up to KWD 100 can be imported duty free at the discretion of the customs authorities. Certificates of origin must accompany the goods.
Shipping and accompanying documents
There is still a ban on boycott declarations. This means that CICs (chambers of industry and commerce) are no longer permitted to certify commercial papers if discriminatory formulations are selected. Escaping the provisions through notaries, regional courts or others administration offices is also excluded. Positive formulations therefore have to be selected.
It is advisable only to import goods of Swiss origin directly from Swiss or to re-export them from Arabic countries. Shipments in transit via other ports and countries (such as the Benelux ports) are not desirable. The Kuwaiti banks are required not to open letters of credit if this fundamental principle is infringed. The exporter must also provide a Way Bill showing the domestic route from the factory to the port of shipment.
Do not use “Persian Gulf”, only use “Arabian Gulf”. Where possible avoid references to the Gulf.
a) 3 commercial invoices in English, certified, all standard information including the name of the manufacturer and exporter, name of the ship including the trademark and number of packages, precise description of the goods, gross and net weight in kg, value of the goods and country of origin and name of the import licence holder. The following text should be used: “We certify that the goods are of … origin. They contain … materials and they are being exported from … . The goods were manufactured by …”. Certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce then consular legalisation.
b) Certificate of origin for all goods certified by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE. “On order” designations are not permissible. On the reverse the invoice, the following legally declaration, which must be signed in a legally binding way by the exporter, must be included: “We certify that the goods are of … (country of origin) origin. They contain … (designation of origin) materials and they are being exported from … (country of export). The goods were manufactured by … (name and full address)”. Certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
c) Postal items up to 20 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 1 customs declaration in English/French.
d) uncertified bills of lading. Order bills of lading are permitted but a notify address must be given.
e) Transport declarations.
The following examples of transport declarations are compatible with Section 4a AWV (further texts are available from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce). “The undersigned does hereby declare on behalf of the owner, agent or master of the above named vessel/airplane that said vessel/airplane is not registered in Israel of owned by nationals or residents of Israel and will not call at or pass through any Israeli port en route to … (e.g. Kuwait)”. We also make reference to the fact that transport declarations of this type may only be made for insurance reasons or to prevent the goods being seized en route via air or sea. The transport declaration below, however, is not compatible with the anti-boycott regulation as it clearly makes reference to “black listing”. It may therefore not be made. “Nous engageons à ne pas faire charger la marchandise objet de la présente facture; à bord des bateaux Israeliens; ou bien des bateaux portes sur la liste noire du bureau de boykottage d’Israel; ou touchant des ports de la Palestine occupée”. Translation: “We commit not to load the goods to which this invoice refers onto Israeli ships or on ships on the black list of the Israel Boycott Office or on ships that make port in occupied Palestine”.
f) If a manufacturer’s declaration is requested, this must be on company headed paper. The signature on the declaration must be certified by a notary. In the case of consular certification, additional certification by the presiding district judge is required. If the importer only requests certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, this must be sent directly to the importer as the embassy does not carry out any legalisation.
g) Packing lists: standardised packing lists are required for import. Information on this can be provided by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
h) The documents to be legalised must be submitted directly by post to the consular department of the state of Kuwait. All documents intended for Kuwait that are not legalised by the consular department of the embassy will not be accepted by the authorities in Kuwait and are not valid.
The precise address of the recipient must be indicated on all documents. A letter, a stamped, addressed return envelope and the original copy stamped by the bank showing the fees paid as evidence of payment should be attached to the documents to be legalised.