The exporting and re-exporting of products from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a potentially highly profitable business model that companies can build on to extend their business across borders and international waters. With a growing reputation for being the epicenter of global business and trade within the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, the UAE is strategically located and sufficiently sophisticated to support the exporting and re-exporting of goods to international markets.

With its geographical location, the UAE is ideally situated to enable business and trade with GCC countries, the African continent, and the Indian subcontinent. Additionally, with its global free trade agreements, the country has built robust ties with many of the most advanced commercial markets in the world, while simultaneously establishing trade connections with rapidly developing nations that are seeking to accelerate their growth through strategic partnerships.
If you are looking to engage in exporting and re-exporting goods from the UAE, there are a handful of steps and regulations that you must consider for a smooth and uninterrupted business.

Step 1: Ensure the Compliance of Your Exported and Re-exported Goods.

Firstly, you must make sure that you are allowed to export or re-export the goods that you are considering shipping out of the country. Take note that the UAE prohibits certain items from being exported without prior approval by government authorities, including but not limited to the following:

  • Cultural artifacts and antiquities: Items that qualify as cultural artifacts and antiquities must be accompanied by special permits, which can only be obtained from the UAE National Council for Tourism and Antiquities before these are allowed to be exported from the UAE.
  • Chemicals and hazardous materials: If you are looking to ship hazardous materials overseas, you must first obtain the approval of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, amongst other things, before you proceed.
  • Wild animals and endangered species: In accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the UAE does not allow the export of any specimen that qualifies as endangered species, nor their products.
  • Arms and ammunition: If you wish to ship weapons and ammunition overseas, you must first comply with and obtain the approval of the Ministry of Defence and other relevant government bodies.
  • Radioactive materials: The shipping of radioactive materials is heavily regulated by the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation, which is the primary governing authority tasked with issuing permits for such activities in the UAE.
  • Live animals and animal products: Any business activity involving the exportation of live animals and animal products must first be approved by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Step 2: Secure the Necessary Permits and Licenses

After making sure you are not exporting strictly prohibited items requiring special approvals, the second step is to acquire the right licenses and permits for the product you wish to export or reexport. This is highly dependent upon two factors: 1.) the country where you are shipping your product; and 2.) the nature of your export product.

For example, if you are shipping electronic products overseas, you will typically be required to produce a Certificate of Origin, which states the country where your goods were manufactured. In some special cases, a permit by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority may be necessary before you can proceed with exporting your electronic items. Thus, it is vital to research the specific requirements for your product and destination country.

Step 3: Make Sure to Meet All Regulations

Apart from securing the appropriate licenses, you must also ensure you comply with all the regulations for your export business. Some of the most important to consider are UAE export regulations, import regulations of your destination country, and relevant customs procedures.

Have a clear understanding of how your business stands in relation to Foreign Trade Law, Strategic Goods Law, and Customs Law. Also, make sure to have your paperwork and documentation prepared beforehand to avoid customs clearance delays. Understand the product requirements your destination country sets and have the documentation ready for clearance.

Step 4: Find a Dependable Freight Forwarder

After ensuring the compliance of your export business, the next step is to identify a freight forwarder. Your chosen freight forwarder will be responsible for transporting your products outside of the UAE and to your chosen country. As such, it is important to choose a reliable service provider with a strong track record, a robust network of partners, and certifiable expertise.

Importantly, you should choose a freight forwarder that has significant experience in handling and transporting your specific product, including any compliance requirements or standards that must be adhered to.

Step 5: Prepare the Shipment and Arrange for the Transport

Finally, prepare your shipment for transport by packaging and labeling the product according to the requirements of your destination country. Take note that each nation has its own unique standards for packaging and labeling, so you must prepare your shipment accordingly. Failure to do so could result in delays or even rejections upon reaching customs clearance. Furthermore, make sure to complete all the accompanying documentation of your shipment, with accuracy down to the smallest detail. Prepare paperwork such as Certificates of Origin, packing lists, Certificate of Free Sale, the Shippers Letter of Instruction, and commercial invoices. After all that is done, all that’s left to do is arrange the transportation of your products.

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