Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) introduc a fee for issuing “Country of Origin” certificates
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SASO  introduces a fee for issuing “Country of Origin” certificates
15th August 2001

 A number of Saudi businessmen have criticized the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) for introducing a fee for issuing “Country of Origin” certificates, saying they were not informed about the SASO move in advance.

“We were surprised when exporters informed us that there will now be a fee payable to the organization’s overseas office,” one of the businessmen told Al-Hayat Arabic newspaper.

Others complain that the new fee is yet another expense on top of charges already levied by foreign companies and agents in order to complete routine export procedures.

SASO introduced the new fee on Aug. 1 on unlisted products, but its  enforcement was later postponed until Nov. 1. They charge $300 (SR1,125) for goods valued up to $60,000 and $1,000 ($3,750) for goods between $60,000 and $250,000. Half a percent of the total value will be charged for products worth more than $250,000.

Dismissing suggestions that it was a new fee, SASO insisted that it had originally been imposed five years ago. However, a SASO official admitted to the Arabic daily that the implementation of the fee had then been postponed after objections were raised by Saudi businessmen.

“SASO should make it clear which products require ‘Country of Origin’ certificates. They should also collect SASO fees from the place where the importer is located,” another businessman speaking to the paper insisted.

He went on to question the logic behind asking an importer to obtain the certificate from the country of origin.

“We don’t see that there is any sound reason for doing that. It merely makes us incur additional expenditure, especially since SASO offices are not even located in the countries from which exports are made. This means we have to pay additional charges for express post,” one importer complained.

Another businessman blasted the organization for not informing Saudi importers of its decision.

“The SASO should have informed us, as it is of direct concern to us. We deal with goods worth billions of riyals and it is unfair that we should hear about such decisions second hand,” he stated.

Another importer emphasized the delays being caused by SASO offices to issue the certificates because of the tiresome bureaucratic procedures. “We are not sure whether the certificate was aimed at protecting consumers or making money, as is clear from the way the officials deal with certain products — especially cars.”

SASO was established in 1972 as an independent organization. Its policies are drafted by a board of directors chaired by the commerce minister. The board includes representatives from related government departments and agencies.

Source: Arab News

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15 August 2001 06:26:32 PM

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