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Export of bottled water resumes after 9-year hiatus
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 07 - 2020

JEDDAH — Export of bottled drinking water has got the go-ahead from the concerned authorities, a report published in Arabic daily Okaz said on Sunday.
The Kingdom had stopped exporting bottled water in 2011.
Saudi authorities have imposed an export fee of SR38 per cubic meter water, equivalent to 50 halala per carton containing 40 bottles of 330 mililiters (ml), which are usually sold for half a riyal.
The factories wishing to export bottled water are required to obtain license from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), provided the domestic market needs for drinking water are covered and water resources are not depleted.
Other conditions include the export quantity should not exceed the ceiling of quantities of drinking water bottled, in line with a decision of the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and the capacity of the drinking water package to be exported should not exceed one liter. The water bottling plant owner must obtain the necessary licenses from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), and the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, and ensure payment of export fees.
The controls stipulate that the export rate should not exceed 7 percent of the actual production capacity of the plant based on non-replenishable groundwater, and it should not exceed 60 percent of the actual production capacity of the factory based on replenishable water sources.
Muhammad Abdulhakim, director of a factory operating in Jeddah, was quoted by Okaz as saying that there is surplus water in factories. Allowing export will contribute in creating an outlet for the surplus water, he said.
The export of bottled water was stopped because most of the neighboring importing countries had set up their own water bottling factories.
There are about 180 domestic water factories, and most of them may start searching for markets to export the surplus production. It is expected that the percentage of exports from the factory capacity will reach 10 percent, especially in light of the high road freight, Abdulhakim added.

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