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Shuwaikh Port chosen as the GCC launch pad – GCC finance ministers to meet on VAT, selective tax

General Manager of Kuwait General Administration of Customs (KGAC) Khaled Al-Saif
General Manager of Kuwait General Administration of Customs (KGAC) Khaled Al-Saif

JEDDAH: Shuwaikh Port has been designated to serve as a launch pad for the implementation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Union procedures, due to start by the end of the year, General Manager of Kuwait General Administration of Customs (KGAC) Khaled Al-Saif said yesterday.

Al-Saif revealed that information in a statement to KUNA on the sidelines of participation in a meeting of GCC financial and economic delegations in the Saudi city of Jeddah. Moreover, Al-Saif noted that Shuwaikh port has been deemed exemplary due to the fact that it has been found to be up to par with GCC Customs Union standards.

He also added that all GCC nations have allocated one of their ports for which to implement the planned procedures. “The shortcomings found in the chosen ports have been very minimal and all of them are roughly 80 percent fit for the planned procedures to be implemented,” Al-Saif said.

“These procedures aim to eliminate any impediments to customs duties between GCC nations,” he noted. The General Manager of KGAC also said that the GCC Customs Union has made “significant strides,” as he noted that the same procedures planned for sea ports will be implemented on aerial ports as well. The procedures implemented on the chosen ports will ensure tax free transport of goods, as any taxes levied would be left to governments’ discretions.

Meanwhile, Al-Saif said that no final decision has been made on the statuses of added value and selective taxes, noting that the issue will be addressed in a forthcoming meeting slated for October. He also pointed out that taxes issued on goods are dependent on whether the goods are imported or locally made.

VAT, selective tax
In another development, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Acting Oil Minister Anas Al-Saleh affirmed Thursday night that the 104th extraordinary meeting of the GCC Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee discussed and approved the two framework agreements on the value-added tax (VAT) and the selective tax.

“The ministerial committee will hold a joint meeting with the GCC technical committee September or October to finalize the two agreements and lay the ground for their enforcement in the six members of the GCC,” he told reporters following the meeting. “The just-ended meeting reviewed the proposals of the technical committee, made up of undersecretaries of the ministries of finance, regarding the facilitation of the business atmosphere and the protection of consumer rights.

“The remaining points relate to prevention of double taxation and prevention of any unjustifiable rise in prices,” he revealed. The conferees agreed to ask the GCC Secretariat to designate an acclaimed consultancy office to review the provisions of the conventions in order to ensure the best possible practice, the minister added. — Agencies

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