General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi promulgated a resolution in July 26th, regarding e-commerce policy that will be effective from August 15th, 2021, as part of Abu Dhabi government’s strategy for digital transformation targeting enhancing Abu Dhabi’s position as a regional and global logistics area as well as keeping up with UAE’s march for the next fifty years.

HE Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General, General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi, voiced that e-commerce policy is correlated with directives of the wise leadership for purpose of facilitating movement of trade in all its forms, notably electronic ones, in a manner contributes to enhancing investment environment, plus attracting more investments to Abu Dhabi, which has been viewed as a global center for trade.

In application of the new e-commerce policy, Al Mansoori added that General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi aims to provide a competitive investment environment that integrates with the private sector, simplify customs procedures, regulate movement of personal goods via e-commerce channels subject to customs procedures in force and legislation relative to this vital sector, supported by comprehensive digital transformation strategy applied in Abu Dhabi Customs motivated by inaugurating several qualitative projects in this connection.

Provisions of e-commerce policy shall be applied to the goods imported and exported by firms to distribution centers in the domestic market and the corporations operate in the free zone or UAE customs bonded warehouses” in addition to import of goods stored in distribution centers for consumption in the local market established in the free zone or customs warehouses via electronic platforms.

The provisions of the policy shall be applied also to exports of goods from distribution centers by the companies operate in the local market to GCCs and other countries of the world, in addition to exports of goods from the local market to distribution centers in the free zone or “bonded warehouses” as well as goods’ exports from distribution centers operate in the Free zone or customs warehouses to GCCs and across the globe.

E-commerce policy obligates companies to be bound to registration requirements, due to the fact that the companies desire to engage in e-commerce activity must register and add the activity in the registration system of the General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs’ Licensing Dept., plus adding the same in the trade license, while the licensed and registered logistics companies are permitted to clear goods provided that their customers shall be registered with Customs Licensing Department.

Similarly, the companies desire to obtain the privileges set out in this policy must obtain customs registration number, while e-commerce companies must establish distribution centers for goods intended for sale through their electronic platforms to ascertain meeting the conditions prescribed by distribution centers. Likewise, the companies shall be bound to provide separate and designated places for storing goods of outstanding charges for which customs duties have already been paid in distribution centers.

E-commerce policy has set a set of controls and provisions including exempting electronic purchases through firms’ sales platforms “goods and imports for personal purposes” whose value does not exceed AED “1000” “One Thousand Emirati dirhams” pursuant to the provisions and controls stipulated in the Unified Guide of Customs Procedures at GCC for postal parcels and express shipping companies.

The first article excludes tobacco and its derivatives, electronic smoking devices and tools and their accessories, nicotine liquids, alcoholic beverages and food nutrients containing alcohol.

Likewise, corporations are also be granted advantage of organizing unified import statement for a set of shipments “consolidated data” so that value of a shipment does not exceed AED (5,000/-) and not less than AED (1000), while the total value shall be AED (50,000/-) for all shipments at one statement, provided that number of shipments does not exceed (50) shipments, excluding the restricted goods.

The newly created online commerce policy prohibits entry of a number of goods into the distribution centers, which are "flammable goods except for fuels, in addition to radioactive materials, military weapons, ammunition and explosives of any kind."

The policy also prohibits the entry of goods that are in consistent with the regulations relative to protection of intellectual, commercial, industrial, literary and artistic property, in addition to drugs of all and different types and kinds and their derivatives, added to the goods originating in a country that has been decided to be economically boycotted, as well as the goods prohibited from entering customs union or that do exist in the country of final destination and transit.