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Favourable terms of trade and a well-developed logistics network position the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a key hub to facilitate international trade. The UAE not only grants access to its domestic market but also presents Canadian businesses with access to markets in the Middle East and North Africa, South East Asia, Eastern Europe and increasingly Sub-Saharan Africa.

Following is an introduction to the fundamentals of the UAE's import regulations and customs duties for Canadian exports destined for both the UAE and its re-export markets.


Canadian businesses engaging in international trade are not only encouraged to acquaint themselves with the foreign market import regulations, but are also encouraged to develop an appreciation of Canadian export regulations and procedures. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) through multiple acts, regulations and international agreements administers the flow of goods in to and out of Canada.

In addition to administering Canada's borders, the CBSA offers industry multiple pre-approval programmes that allow for smoother border clearance. The CBSA also provides importers and exporters with clarity on the Customs Act enabling them to better meet reporting requirements.
CBSA also runs the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Centre, a resource for small to medium enterprises assisting them to better comply with CBSA requirements.

The UAE is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the GCC's Common Customs Law sets the principle framework for the UAE's import regulations. The UAE is also a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and has signed multiple trade agreements, both bilateral and with major trading blocks; these commitments as members as well as being party to trade agreements add to the UAE's import regulations.

The UAE is a federal state comprising seven Emirates with each Emirate independently administering its import regulations through a customs authority. In 2003, the Federal Customs Authority was established, in part to harmonize and improve the UAE's customs procedures. Remarkable progress has since been made and still continues. However, due to the ever evolving nature of the customs procedures, we highly recommend contacting the relevant emirate customs authority or importer in question for context and current information.


he GCC was established in accordance with an agreement concluded in 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. These countries declared that the GCC is established in view of the special relations between them, their similar political systems based on Islamic beliefs, joint destiny and common objectives.


In 1982 the GCC countries concluded the joint Economic Agreement granting specific privileges and advantages to nationals of member countries to perform economic and trading activities in other member countries. This was followed by similar other agreements to encourage economic relations, trade and practice of professions in the member countries.

Common Customs Law of the GCC States

Unification of the Customs laws and procedures in the Customs Administration of the GCC states is one of the main objectives that the GCC States seek to achieve. The adoption of a common Customs law, which unifies Customs procedures in all GCC Customs administrations and enhances cooperation among member States in the Customs field, is one of the envisaged objectives.

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