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Setting Up an Import Export Business in Dubai 

Dubai is the popular destination for worldwide business investment in order to have easy access to its local as well as established markets. This city is known as the international trade hub of Middle East, Asia as well as Africa because of its deliberate geopolitical location.

This fact is also reinforced by an increase of more than 11% in the growth percentage of trade in Dubai. Moreover trade is seen to contribute 28.4% approximately towards Dubai’s GBP. It has a world class infrastructure for aviation along with an established network for seaport.

The government is also seen to encourage foreign investment by making the environment well regulated by competitive business and the economic zones free along with special investment and trade benefits. So if you wish to set up an import business in Dubai, you should be well aware of the following things:

Import license

  1. In order to function an import license is required. This can be done online, but while importing any special goods or restricted items, a special license from the Customs Office should acquired.
  2. Any person can start an import business by availing permissions, completing documentations and adhering to the terms of licensing from the authority.

Custom registration

After getting the import license, an individual needs to make a registration with customs department. To bring goods into Dubai via air and sea, an import code from the customs is essential. All the commodities that pass from a free zone to the local market through customs are liable for duty. So all the commodities that will be imported needs to pass through the Customs office and thus will be checked to see whether they fall in the prohibited list or not.

Documents for Import

  1. An invoice
  2. Origin certificate
  3. Document regarding the weight of products imported
  4. Permit

Procedure for Import

Once you decide to start an import business, you need to go through the following steps:

  • The original Bill of Lading should be submitted.
  • As soon as the vessel arrives, clear the dues if any to the shipping agent.
  • The shipping agent will issue the delivery order.
  • You should also be alert to complete the clearance formalities of all cargo before the date of delivery date has expired. The delivery order is usually issued by the shipping agent 3-4 days before thevessel arrives.
  • For custom clearance, the application for import declaration should be submitted online after logging in to site of Dubai Trade. Custom duties as well as other fees should be paid online. If the commodities imported are restricted or even have an exempt duty before the declaration for customs import is filed, then consent should be procured by the importer.
  • Goods and documents will be inspected too before the importer is given the possession of the cargo.
  • Once the product is discharged, a transport company is appointed by the importer to receive the delivery of the products.
  • According to the declaration of the customs import, if any inspection is necessary then the product will be inspected and once the inspection is cleared the product will exit the inspection area.

5 best import business ideas and opportunities in Dubai

Online importation

There are several online based marketplaces. These online websites deal with trading online because they ship products to different parts of the world. So you can place your order as well as make the payment online, while your product is shipped to your shipping address. The shipping cost should be paid by you. So through online access you can reach out to manufacturers who are even in other countries. Huge improvement in transportation as well as logistics have made it possible for the small business with less capital to import stocks of smaller amounts at lesser shipping fee. The advantage of starting this business in Dubai is that with little investment and help of the internet an individual can start a business and have a lucrative income.

Import brokerage

You can become an import agent or broker better known as a trade agent and send and receive goods to as well as from various countries. Import agents work with both importers as well as exporters and aid them to prepare the required documents for importing or exporting their products. An import agent also helps their clients to establish connections in various foreign companies.

Car import

A great way of raising money in the import business in Dubai is by investing in used car import. A buy as well as sell opportunity will turn into a profitable business if you can execute it well. So you can look out for buying and selling of used cars. With the increase of technology and art work on cars being produced, people always have the need to buy new cars and dispose the old ones. So if you are in Dubai, you can import and sell used cars or use it in car rental service for the tourists.

Import merchandising

An individual will be taking care of the purchase of goods directly from either a foreign or a domestic manufacturer. After that pack, ship as well as resell the goods on their own. If you wish to import goods in bulk from the global retailers then you should pack goods for resale on your own. This line of international trade would be perfect for you.


For an importing organisation, a marketing manager plays a key role. He is responsible for developing as well as establishing markets for goods along with services overseas. They also identify market trends and thus develop pricing strategies that are competitive. To do this, they are seen to utilise forecasting computer applications and then work with different aspects of communications as well as messaging such as advertising and public relations.

Dubai Import business has a great scope and you can opt for the services if you wish to set up an import business in Dubai.

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Contact us at our office in Dubai or submit a business inquiry online.

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