UAE: Declaration of goods consumed in “free zones” (Dubai)

UAE: Declaration of goods consumed in free zones, Dubai

The customs authority in Dubai issued guidance concerning the procedures for declaration of goods consumed within “free zones.”


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Notice No.17/2020—effective 25 October 2020—distinguishes between goods that are consumed in free zones and those sold within the UAE domestic market and elaborates on how customs duties apply to each.

Goods that are not subject to customs duties are those:

  • Used and consumed within the free zones for the purpose of establishing, operating or maintaining projects and facilities enabling businesses to carry out their activity
  • Involved in the manufacturing of any goods or productions of any service within the free zone

Goods that are subject to customs duties are those:

  • Sold out of the free zone and introduced into the domestic market
  • Consumed in the free zone in situations other than those listed above that are not subject to customs duties

The guidance differentiates the treatment of the goods based on their utilization. In addition, the guidance explicitly sets forth an obligation of free zone companies to trace their inventory and lists the documents and procedures to be followed. Lastly, the notice introduces a new compliance requirement in the form of quarterly reporting.

Compliance requirements

Free-zone companies are to follow customs procedures, which include the submission of a consumption goods declaration, whether the goods are subject (or not) to customs duties. The consumption goods declaration must be completed at least on a quarterly basis with the required documents attached. 

Read a November 2020 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in the UAE

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