Saudi Arabia enacted the 'Law of Trade Remedies in International Trade' in December 2022, to regulate the imposition of trade remedial measures on imports into Saudi Arabia. In March 2023, this Law has been supplemented by the procedural law, 'Implementing Regulations for the Trade Remedies law'. The domestic trade remedial system in Saudi Arabia is being established as part of the Country's Vision 2030, wherein the Government aims to support and promote the Saudi domestic industry against unfair foreign imports. The new law shall run in parallel to the existing GCC trade remedial system.
Saudi Arabia became a member of the WTO in 2005. In its effort to adapt its laws to be compatible with the WTO Agreements, the Common Law on Anti-Dumping, Countervailing and Safeguard Measures ("Common Law") was enacted. However, the same was not done at individual country level, but for Gulf Cooperation Council ("GCC") as a whole. This law attempted to combat the injurious and harmful trade practises in all 6 member states of the GCC and governed the trade remedial measures in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, Saudi Arabia has now taken the step to enact trade remedial laws at the national level.
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030
As a step towards realizing its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia envisaged the establishment of a domestic trade remedial body. Subsequently, Saudi Arabia enacted the Law of Trade Remedies in International Trade ("Trade Remedies Law") on December 2, 2022. This Law governs the conduct of anti-dumping, countervailing (anti-subsidy) and safeguard investigations and the imposition of trade remedial measures on imports into Saudi Arabia. In March 2023, the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Foreign Trade (GAFT) has now implemented regulations for the Trade Remedies Law, ("Regulations").
This Trade Remedies law and Regulations applies to imports made into Saudi Arabia from all members of the WTO, including the members of GCC. This is in contrast to the existing Common Law that allowed for protection against unfair and injurious imports only from non-GCC members. The Saudi domestic industry can now approach the GAFT, which is the investigating authority envisaged under the law alleging unfair competition or a surge in imports into the country. Pursuant to a thorough investigation, and on affirmative determination, the duties shall be levied by the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.
Key features of the Regulations
While the provisions of the Regulations are largely in compliance with the WTO Agreements, the Regulations have laid down rules governing examination of public interest under Articles 19-21. Interested parties are required to register and make submissions on public interest, which shall be considered when the President of GAFT decides on the imposition/revocation of the duties. The Regulations also lay down provisions for refund, price undertaking, anti-circumvention investigations, etc.
The Regulations also envisage a two-tier appellate mechanism. The President shall entertain grievances against the imposition of duties within 30 days against the final measures taken under the Trade Remedies Law. Thereafter, an appeal against the President's decision lies before the administrative courts.
Additionally, the Regulations clarify that the Saudi trade remedial system is to run in parallel with the Common law. However, no investigations shall be conducted on the same product imported from the same source under both the laws simultaneously. Similarly, no duties shall be imposed on the same product from the same source under both the laws simultaneously.
The Regulations and the Trade Remedial Law adopted by Saudi Arabia envisage a robust trade remedial system focused on safeguarding the interests of its domestic industry. As a country having cordial relations and significant economic and trade ties with India, the impact of Saudi's new trade remedial law and consequent increase in trade remedy investigations is to be seen.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.