The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report published last Oct. 17 revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) improved by two rankings compared to last year, placing the Kingdom in the 39th position among 140 countries included in the report.
Driven by its commitments to achieve the ambitious goals set out in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Saudi Customs has launched and implemented various initiatives that adopts and implements groundbreaking technologies and innovative practices that aim at enhancing the business environment, increase the competitiveness of the Saudi market, and attract international investment in cooperation with its partners.
Ahmed Alhakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs, said Saudi Customs transformation journey had a positive impact in raising the Kingdom’s GCI ranking for the first time since 2012. Customs Strategy included 41 initiatives that cover the pillars of Customs’ work across all land, sea, and air ports.
He outlined the various efforts done by the Saudi Customs over the past two years to improve the business environment competitiveness and facilitate logistical procedures that are a key enabler to enhancing trade facilitation and customer centricity.
Saudi Customs has succeeded in the clearance of more than 80% of customs declarations within 24 hours on average through pre-clearance procedures, technology enhancement efforts and the digitization of most customs operations. Fasah, the electronic national system for import and export that was launched as a joint effort of 25 government entities, achieved positive outcomes in the clearance procedure, through enabling companies to track and complete their clearance procedures electronically, and contributed in decreasing the number of clearance documents; in addition to the issuance of the new customs clearance practice guide, which authorized companies to issue customs clearance license.
Faisal Albedah, Deputy Governor for Trade Facilitation at Saudi Customs, outlined some of the results achieved by Saudi Customs initiatives. He mentioned that 1.4 million customs declarations were cleared during the first half of 2018, and the volume of exports and imports during the same period exceeded 66 million tons, surpassing the value of 365 billion Riyals. He also highlighted the importance of the Authorized Economic Operator Program (AEO) that will enhance the business environment and further facilitate customs procedures.