Tariffs and regulations

Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice.

Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

For further information, visit the UAE Ministry of Finance and Dubai Customs.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers


A customs duty of five per cent is generally levied on imported goods (a number of categories are exempt, some agricultural products and pharmaceuticals) and luxury goods such as tobacco is 50 to 70 per cent.

A number of UAE ‘free zones’ have been established, where customs duties are not payable, such as Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) or Jebel Ali port. Goods may only be imported by an entity which is registered in the UAE.

Non-tariff barriers

Import restrictions

Only companies in the UAE that have the appropriate trade licence can import products into the country. Import controls exist for a number of products including alcoholic beverages, pork and pork products, medicinal substances, printed matter such as magazines and videos, photographic material, firearms and fireworks.

The entry of many kinds of products has been banned in accordance with the local values, religious beliefs and morals. The following items are prohibited:

  • goods manufactured in Israel
  • pornographic literature.

Special permission is required for the import of:

  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • firearms
  • ammunition and explosives
  • agricultural pesticides
  • industrial alcohol-denatured
  • methyl alcohol
  • methylated and medicated spirits.

Product certification, labelling and packaging

Packing, marking and labelling

Goods should be packed to provide protection against extreme heat and humidity, storage in the open and possible unloading into lighters.

The UAE Ministry of Health requires all pharmaceutical imports to be carried under temperature controlled conditions of 25 degrees centigrade.

Outer containers should bear the consignee's mark and the port mark in Arabic, this is essential, as most wharf labourers cannot read English.

Labels of imported goods/food need to have the following standard information and should be in English and Arabic:

  • product and brand
  • ingredients, in descending order of proportion
  • additives using their 'E' numbers (group names are also accepted)
  • the origin of all animal fats
  • net contents in metric units
  • production and expiry date
  • country of origin
  • manufacturer's name and address
  • special storage and preparation instructions, if any.

Special certificates

UAE health authorities require Islamic Slaughter Certification for all shipments of Australian food products containing meat and poultry. An Original Slaughter Certificate and Original Halal Products Certificate must be issued by an approved Halal centre in Australia.

Methods of quoting and payment

Quotes should be in US dollars CIF or CIFC (Incoterms 1990) and may be requested in the form of proforma invoices to facilitate opening of letters of credit. The UAE Dirham is valued at a fixed rate against the US dollar.

Methods of duty payment for import shipments are as follows:

  • cash or cheque
  • bank receipt if customs duty has been paid through a bank
  • customs duty debit facility against bank guarantee

Irrevocable letters of credit are recommended until a firm trading relationship has been established.

Documentary requirements

Required documents for clearance:

  • valid and relevant trade license copy
  • delivery order from the shipping or line agent
  • original supplier's commercial invoice
  • certificate of origin
  • packing list.

Commercial invoice

No prescribed form. Certification by an approved authority may be requested. The invoice must indicate:

  • country of origin
  • a full description of the goods, including net and gross weights, unit and total value, and details of the packing and should match the details on the bill of lading
  • name of the manufacturer.

Bill of lading

May be made out To Order.

The appropriate tariff number should be shown. This should ensure the correct freight rate is applied to the items shipped.

Original copy must be furnished (two original copies minimum).

Original bill if ladings have to be endorsed by the shipper. In case they are not endorsed, a full set (usually three) of originals need to be surrendered to the line.

Packing list

A packing list is required, but there is no prescribed format. Details to match the bill of lading description.

Certificate of origin

The certificate of origin must include the name and address of the manufacturer.

Must be certified by the UAE Embassy in Canberra and should contain the following clause: We certify that the goods or materials are of Australian origin. Note: Fees are substantial.

At the time of clearance, in case of original commercial invoice, if the certificate of origin and packing list is not available, clearance can be affected on the strength of photocopies and a deposit, which can be claimed back if the originals are submitted within 60 days of filing the bill of entry.

Public health requirements

Livestock are inspected upon arrival.

Agricultural pesticides may only be imported by a registered importer holding a valid import licence.

Imports of pharmaceutical products are subject to specific transport regulations.

Food containing cyclamates is prohibited from entering Abu Dhabi and although there is no legislation prohibiting such food from entering Dubai, the practice is not encouraged.


Normal commercial practice but the insurance company must not have any Israeli connections.

Weights and measures

The metric system.