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Rules and Procedures for Organizing Trade Exhibitions ‎in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Rules and Procedures for Organizing Trade Exhibitions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Chapter One: Introduction

Article 1: Definitions

The following words and expressions, wherever mentioned herein, shall have the meanings assigned thereto unless the context indicates otherwise:

  1. KSA: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  2. SECB:  Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau
  3. Organizer: A licensed institution or company for organizing exhibitions.
  4. Document: Rules and procedures for organizing Trade Exhibitions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  5. Relative Authorities: SECB Supervisory Committee.
  6. Trade Exhibition: Business event organized by a licensed institution or company to facilitate effective meetings between buyers and sellers. Direct sale is prohibited in such exhibitions; where visitors are business owners and specialists. The event may include organizing some accompanying activities such as specialized workshops and lectures. Trade Exhibitions shall be classified as "International" exhibitions when 10% or more of the participating exhibitors or visitors come from outside the Kingdom. If the exhibition is organized by one country for marketing its products and services, it would be called a "Solo Country Exhibition" and it might be accompanied by some cultural, art or craft shows from the same country.
  7. Convention:  An event consisting of a trade or consumer exhibition, conference, forum or symposium.

 

Article 2: Scope of Rules and Procedures

All trade exhibitions held in the Kingdom shall be subject to these rules and procedures, except for the following:

  • Riyadh International Book Fair under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Information according to the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (246) dated 17/7/1434 AH.
  • Conferences and events organized by embassies and diplomatic missions accredited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and subject to the procedures set out by Royal Orders No. (43857) dated 6/10/1432 AH and No. (7436) dated 21/10/1431 AH.
  • Cultural events (Graphic Art, Photo Gallery…etc.), and subject to the procedures set out by Royal Order No. (5186) dated 15/4/1426 AH, and the Circular of Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior No. (164530) dated 18/9/1436 AH.

Chapter Two: Rules for Organizing Trade Exhibitions

Article 3: General Conditions

  1. Organizing trade exhibitions in KSA, which fall within SECB jurisdiction, shall be prohibited without SECB licensing.
  2. Trade exhibition shall be organized and operated in compliance with Islamic values, Sharia Law and general regulations of KSA.
  3. There shall be no slurring of state symbols or policies; no discussion of any subjects related to policy, security, tribes or religion that may cause public distress or agitation; or lead to disturbance of public order.
  4. SECB Supervisory Committee shall determine the fees of the services related to trade exhibition and shall be reviewed periodically.
  5. Trade Exhibition shall have an appropriate title that conforms to the Arabic language and public decency, taking into consideration all intellectual rights according to the applicable regulations. Arabic and English abbreviations may be used.
  6. Prior to receiving SECB's initial approval, all promotional activities for the trade exhibition are prohibited, including advertising of all forms.
  7. Trade Exhibition's initial approval or license shall not be assigned or sub-licensed to third parties. Subcontracting agreements may be concluded with other institutions to provide supply or market services to trade exhibition.
  8. SECB shall hold no moral or financial liability in case the organizer fails to implement the rules and procedures of trade exhibitions.

Article 4: Date and Venue

  1. Trade exhibition's duration shall not exceed seven days.
  2. Trade exhibition shall only be held in exhibition halls, hotel halls and social event halls licensed by SECB.
  3. In cities and governorates where exhibition halls are not available, trade exhibitions licensed by SECB may be organized in temporary venues that comply with civil defense requirements.
  4. Exhibitions halls, event halls or hotel halls shall only host trade exhibitions licensed by SECB. SECB license shall be stated as a prerequisite in the leasing contracts between the venue and organizers.
  5.  

Article 5: Exhibitors, Exhibits and Accompanying Events

  1. Trade exhibition shall be specialized in products type.
  2. Participation in trade exhibition shall be limited to licensed national and international entities; and sponsoring public sectors.
  3. Direct sale is prohibited during trade exhibitions.
  4. The following is strictly prohibited: 
    • Exhibiting any materials about to expire. 
    • Exhibiting counterfeit goods, equipment, devices and machines that do not meet Saudi specifications and standards.
  1. Food and drinks may be sold in allocated areas by restaurants which licensed by competent authorities and according to the approved standards.
  2. Conferences, symposiums, lectures or workshops accompanying the exhibition may be held upon coordination with SECB and obtaining a writing approval within at least (60) days prior to the exhibition. If the trade exhibition is accompanied by a conference, forum or symposium, it is called "convention".
  3. An accompanying consumer exhibition may be held upon obtaining an independent license according to the rules and procedures for organizing consumer exhibitions.
  4. Saudi Customs regulations shall be observed when offering goods in trade exhibition.
  5. The rules and regulations of the Ministry of Housing shall be observed with regards to the validity of the exhibitors in real estate exhibitions.
  6. The rules and regulations of the Ministry of Trade and Investment shall be observed with regards to precious metals and stones exhibitions.
  7. All Saudi regulations for intellectual property rights shall be observed with regards to trade exhibitions.

 

Article 6: Trade Exhibitions Management

  1. The rules and regulations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development shall be adhered to in regards to Saudizing job opportunities announced by the Ministry or other relative authorities when organizing the trade exhibition.
  2. A registration platform or electronic registration system shall be provided to register trade exhibition participants. Registration shall include name, address, job and contact information. Participating in a trade exhibition is prohibited without registration, and SECB shall be provided with a copy of such documentation, if requested, within a period not exceeding two years from date of the trade exhibition.
  3. Banners shall be placed on all participating pavilions showing the names of participating entities.
  4. All employees, exhibitors and visitors participating in the Trade Exhibition shall wear ID cards indicating their names, jobs and affiliates.
  5. The appearance of the exhibitors should be suitable in terms of clothing not violating religious values and local traditions.
  6. Provide an office for the executive management of the trade exhibition equipped with telephone, fax and internet services. A full time official shall be appointed in the office during trade exhibition work hours.
  7. Allocate an office for competent governmental monitoring authorities, according to the exhibition activity and the need for a monitoring body.
  8. Allocate a first aid room and a paramedic during trade exhibition work hours.
  9. Provide an information center for visitors and answering their queries.
  10. Providing a mechanism for receiving complaints/suggestions of visitors.
  11. Smoking is strictly prohibited within all trade exhibition facilities. Visible "No Smoking" signs shall be placed and a smoking area shall be allocated outside the trade exhibition.
  12. Allocate two prayer areas for males and females. Prayer calls shall be announced at the exhibition.
  13. Launch a website for the trade exhibition.
  14. Souvenirs distributed in the trade exhibition shall be Saudi handicraft products.
  15. SECB logo and initial approval or license number shall be placed on all advertising and promotional materials of the trade exhibition.

 

Article 7: Ending and Evaluating Trade Exhibition

The organizer is obligated to end the trade exhibition at the time stated on the license, and submit a report to SECB within one month from the end date. This report shall be used for research purposes and the SECB shall not publish such report, which includes the following:

  1. The actual opening and end dates.
  2. The actual total area.
  3. The actual total leased area.
  4. The number and nationality of individuals who participated in organizing the exhibition.
  5. A list of the exhibitors' names and contact numbers, with a list of sponsors' details.
  6. Total number of exhibitors participating in the pavilions of the exhibition.
  7. Total number of visitors from inside and outside KSA.
  8. Photos of the trade exhibition and a summary of all media coverage.
  9. Information on the number and value of deals concluded at the exhibition.
  10. Financial outcomes of trade exhibition in terms of costs and returns.

Chapter Three: Procedures for licensing Trade Exhibitions:  

Article 8: Conditions for Issuing Trade Exhibitions License

  1. All trade exhibition-licensing procedures shall be completed through the SECB portal (www.secb.gov.sa) at the E-Services section.
  2. The applicant (organizer) shall be in the capacity of a licensed company or institution for organizing exhibitions and conferences, provided that its license and commercial registration are valid upon submission and throughout the exhibition.
  3. The organizer shall not have any suspension from the SECB or any other relative authorities or accused of any judicial rulings hindering the commercial activity at the time of applying or organizing the exhibition.
  4. The organizer shall not have any financial obligations by the SECB regulations.
  5. Obtaining SECB initial approval for the trade exhibition is a prerequisite to apply for the license. Information provided in the initial approval application must match the information provided in the license (title, location, time and information about main exhibitors).
  6. Trade exhibition licensing fees set by SECB Supervisory Committee shall be paid upon the issuance of the initial approval.
  7. Upon receiving the initial approval and prior to obtaining the license, SECB shall contact public entities related to the specialization of the trade exhibition (if necessary). The recommendations and support of relative public entities are required. In case any of the entities disapproves the exhibition, the organizer shall be notified to communicate directly with that entity and convince it of the feasibility of the exhibition.
  8. SECB may reject any application for organizing the trade exhibition based on data related to the exhibition's economic activity, content, executive plan, scheduling or its conflict with other exhibitions, conventions or events; or based on instructions issued by relative authorities.
  9. The organizer may request fees for attending the trade exhibition by applying to the SECB within at least (60) days prior to organizing the trade exhibition and receiving SECB approval.
  10. The organizer may apply for an initial approval to organize future sessions of the trade exhibition, not exceeding five years, if the organization of the exhibition is proved to be successful for two successive sessions.
  11. Organizer shall not change trade exhibition name or content after the initial approval or final license has been obtained and a new application is required.

     

Article 9: Initial Approval Procedures for Trade Exhibition

  1. Application for initial approval for the trade exhibition shall be requested through SECB portal at least (180) days prior to organizing the exhibition.
  2. The organizer shall 'Register' and 'Update User Profile' on the SECB portal (www.secb.gov.sa), and then select "Licensing Trade Exhibition" from the "E-Services" drop down menu and fill the application for an initial approval.
  3. The following documents shall be attached with the initial approval application:
  • A copy of the venue's initial booking confirmation.
  • An action plan and detailed visualization of the trade exhibition including:
    • Vision and objectives
    • Targeted segments
    • Targeted number of attendance from inside and outside KSA
    • Organizational structure of the executive management, providing names of key officials
    • Estimated budget
    • Logo 
    • Marketing plan
    • Risk management plan
  1. When the initial approval requirements are fulfilled, SECB shall send a message confirming receipt.
  2.  SECB shall review the application and respond to the organizer with approval, rejection or conditional approval, within (10) working days excluding weekends and official holidays.
  3. If SECB approves the application, the organizer shall pay the service fees of the initial approval.
  4. If the organizer has been awarded the approval to organize the trade exhibition for many sessions, he shall pay the service fees for each repeated year before organizing the exhibition within (180) days prior to the specified date of the future exhibition.
  5.  SECB shall issue an initial approval and notify the organizer via Email.

 

Article 10: Final Licensing Procedures for Trade Exhibitions

  1. Organizer shall apply for trade exhibition license via SECB portal, and then select "Licensing Trade Exhibition Final Approval" from the "E-Services" drop down menu and fill the application for a final approval and attach the following documents:
    • List of the participating entities in the trade exhibition (name, activity, headquarters; type of exhibits).
    • An outline showing the distribution of participants and the total area of the exhibition.
    • A copy of the venue's booking confirmation.
    • Pledge to abide by the rules and procedures stated at the bottom of the E-form.
  1. When final approval requirements are fulfilled, SECB shall send a message confirming receipt.
  2.  SECB shall review the application and documents with relative authorities and respond to the organizer with approval, rejection or conditional approval, within (10) working days excluding weekends and official holidays.
  3.  SECB shall issue the license and send the original copy to the organizer via e-mail.
  4.  SECB shall provide all relative authorities with a copy of the license for arranging, supervising, monitoring and documenting any irregularities occurring during trade exhibition organization, each within their field of competence.

 

Article 11:  Procedures of Modifying Dates or Venues

  1. In case of cancellation or modification of date or venue, the organizer shall notify SECB through its portal within at least (60) days prior to the trade exhibition. Organizer shall clarify the reasons of such modification or cancellation and acquire SECB approval thereof.
  2. Organizer shall pay the service fees for such modifications.

Chapter Four: Violations and Penalties

Article 12: Penalties

In case of violation of the stipulated rules and regulations, anyone who violates the provisions of Chapter Two of this agreement shall be punished by the following:

  1. If the violation is committed for the first time, SECB shall issue a written warning to the organizer requesting amendments during the trade exhibition. Organizer shall sign a pledge not to repeat the violation in the future.
  2. If the violation is committed for the second time after receiving a written warning, the organizer shall be banned from organizing conferences and exhibitions for three months. If the organizer has received an initial approval or license for organizing conferences or exhibitions within the suspension period, they shall be canceled or postponed to after the suspension period.
  3. If the violation is committed for the third time, the organizer shall be banned from organizing conferences and exhibitions for six months. If the organizer has received an initial approval or license for organizing conferences or exhibitions within the suspension period, they shall be canceled or postponed to after the suspension period.
  4. If the violation is committed for the fourth time, the organizer's commercial registration for organizing conferences and exhibitions shall be suspended, and all initially approved or licensed conferences and exhibitions shall be canceled. No activity may be reinstated until at least one year after the date of suspension, provided that the organizer provides pledges not to repeat the violation and commits to additional requirements.

 

Article 13: Penalty and Appeal

  1. SECB shall recommend a penalty to the Chair of SECB Supervisory Committee or an authorized representative for approval.
  2. The violating organizer may appeal before the Chair of SECB Supervisory Committee within (60) days of notification date. SECB shall review the appeal and submit its decision to the Chair of Supervisory Committee

If the appeal is rejected, the violating organizer may file a claim before courts of jurisdiction in accordance with the regulations.

 

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