1 - 1. General characteristics:
||Arab Republic of Egypt.
||1002000 square kilometers.
||60.24 millions inhabitants (Midyear -1995).
||60 inhabitants per square kilometer.
||The climate is mainly dry, but there are winter rainsalong the Mediterranean coast.
Winter temperatures are everywhere mild, but summer temperatures are very high, especially in the South. From November
to March, the climate is cool and temperatures reach about18°C. From April to October they may exceed 40°C.
From April to May, the hot dusty "Khamsin" wind blows from the Sahara.
||January 1st, January 7th, March 8th, June 18th, July 23rd, October 6th, October 24th,
December 23 rd, December 24th, Eid-ul-Fitr*, Eid-ul-Adha*, Muharram 1st*, Mouloud*, Palm Sunday*, Easter Sunday*
and Ascension of the Prophet Mohammed *. ( (*) Variable dates.)
|Weekly days off:
||Thursday p.m. - Friday.
1 - 2. General information:
||Arabic is the official language. French, English and German are also spoken
||Egyptian Pound (E£). 1 US$ = 3.39 E£ (End of 1996).
||GMT + 3.
- Commercial establishments: Sunday - Thursday From 8H a.m. to 16H p.m.
- Government offices: Sunday - Thursday From 8H a.m. to 14H p.m.
- Banks: Sunday - Thursday From 8H a.m. to 14H p.m.
1 - 3. Legal framework of trade relations:
Egypt is member of the following international organizations:
|World Trade Organization (W.T.O);
|United Nations Organization (UN) and its main specialized institutions;
|Organization of the Islamic Conference (O.I.C);
|Arab League States and Arab Co-operation Organizations.
Egypt signed economic and commercial co-operation agreements with several Islamic
countries to establish an Arab Common Market, namely, the Arab co-operation council and the council of Arab Economic
On November 10th 1994, Egypt signed an agreement with Russia covering the Export
of local goods in return for Russian spare parts and other electric equipment projects.
On April 19th, 1995 an agreement was signed between Egypt and the Palestinian authority
to facilitate trade between them.
On May 16th, 1995 Egypt and Japan signed three agreements concerning the construction
It signed financial agreements with Switzerland.
Egypt and Jordan signed a contract with Alcatel of Norway to lay four submarine
cables across the Gulf of Aqaba.
It also signed the Inter-Arab Trade and Transit Agreement and co-operation treaties
with the European Union.
Egypt also signed investments agreements with Indonesia (19/1/1994), China (21/4/1994),
Romania (24/4/1994), Hungary (23/5/1995), Turkmenistan (23/5/1995), Uganda (4/11/95), Netherlands (17/1/1996),
Sri Lanka (11/3/1996) and Korea (18/3/1996).
2. TRADE STRUCTURE (1996):
2 - 1. Main exported products:
|Spinning and weaving products;
|Agricultural goods (cotton, rice, potatoes, citrus, medicinal herbs, spices…);
|Pharmaceuticals, paper products, cosmetics…
|Food industries (molasses, refined sugar, canned vegetables and fruit, cigarettes and
2 - 2. Main imported products:
|Iron and steel;
|Petroleum and its products;
|Organic and inorganic chemical substances;
|Wood and cork and articles thereof;
|Resins and artificial plastics;
|Paper and articles thereof.
2 - 3. Trading partners:
United States of America
United States of America
3.FOREIGN TRADE REGULATIONS:
3 - 1. Imports regulations:
The Arab Republic of Egypt classifies its imports according to the harmonized commodity
description and coding system.
The negative list includes105 products and all the products that are not listed
in it are imported duty-free. The negative list consists of textiles, apparel, and poultry.
Unsalable commercial samples or those samples valued at less than five Egyptian
pounds are admitted duty-free. Saleable samples worth more than five Egyptian pounds may be imported temporarily
duty-free under deposit or bond.
Small quantities of printed advertising material, such as catalogues, price lists
and films are admitted free of duty.
Customs duties are payable in Egyptian pounds.
At import level the following documents are required:
|Commercial invoice: The original or at least two copies usually are required.
Legalization by the Egyptian Consulate is required. If the instructions of the letter of credit do not specify
that legalization is required, exporters should follow the advice of their importers. The Egyptian Consulate will
legalize the certificate of origin only after it has been notarized and certified.
|Certificate of origin: The original or at least two copies are often required.
The same formalities for the commercial invoice apply to the certificate of origin. Natural products are considered
as originating in the country where the goods are grown or extracted. The certificate of origin must bear a statement
that the information given is true and correct to the best of the shipper’s knowledge.
|Packing list: packing list may be required by the consignee and are recommended
|Bill of lading: The number of bills of lading required depends upon the carrier.
Therefore there are no regulations specifying the form or number of bills of lading required for shipments. A bill
of lading must show the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description
of the good, listing of the freight and other charges, the number of the bills of lading in full set and the date
and the signature of the carrier’s official acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment.
The airway bill replaces the bill of lading on air cargo shipments.
|Pro forma invoice: The pro forma invoice is required by the importer for submission
along with the import license. It must show the country of manufacture of goods.
3 – 2 Exports regulations:
In compliance with the Export regulations, the following documents must be produced:
|Sanitary certificate: an official certificate indicating that they are free
of wood pests and insects must accompany Wooden-packing materials.
Fresh meat requires a sanitary certificate stating that the locality of origin has
been free of contagious diseases for at least three months prior to slaughter as well as a certificate attesting
that slaughter was done according to Islamic rites. Canned meat requires a sanitary certificate showing that the
health authorities control slaughtering operations.
|Used clothing: a certificate indicating that goods have been sterilized must
accompany used clothing.
|Radiation certificate: many agricultural imports including tallow for the manufacture
of soap and other detergents are subject to a random inspection upon arrival and may require a statement that the
products are not contaminated by radioactivity.
|Free sale certificate: Many imports of pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and wood
products require a free sale certificate certifying that the commodities are in free circulation in the country
of Export. The free sale certificate must be legalized and certified.
|Disinfection certificate: A special disinfection certificate is required for
the shipments of shaving brushes and bristles.
|Food additives: Imports of food additives and other materials used in food processing
must be accompanied by a certificate issued by an inspection authority specifying their precise chemical composition
and stating that the products are authorized for use in the exporting country.
|Shipping restrictions: Nationalization of the insurance industry and of importing
agencies virtually has eliminated use of foreign insurance services for imports by the Government. Insurance for
private commercial imports depends upon the contract between buyer and seller.
3 -3. Other formalities and documents:
Commercial agents must register their agency with the Ministry of Economy and Foreign
Trade’s Commercial Registry Department giving basic facts about the agreement including the amount of commission
to be received on sales. Commission rates vary with the volume of sales; they range between 1 to 10%. Commission
rates must be noted in the commercial registry documents signed by the Egyptian agents.
Many foodstuffs, household appliances, transformers and consumer goods are subject
to quality inspection on entry into Egypt.
Pharmaceutical products including cosmetics, medical soaps, medicated pastilles
and toothpaste must be registered with the Ministry of health. Information on chemical composition must be provided.
There are quality standards for the manufacture, import and sale of edible vegetables
and animal and oil greases, preserved tomatoes, tomato pulp, sauces and juices, molasses, salt and alcoholic beverages.
Special regulations also affect the importation of butter, raw wool, cod liver, whiskey, fruit, potatoes, preserved
green vegetables, plants and seeds.
A special permit is required for insecticides.
The importation of cotton plants, ginned or unginned cotton, cottonseed and cotton
stems is prohibited. Wooden containers are subject to possible fumigation upon arrival in Egypt if any signs of
woodborer infestation are found.
|Labeling: packaged items must be labeled in Arabic bearing the name of the product,
its trademark, and its brand name, the product’s technical data and mode of operation, international marks and
information that should be observed during transportation and handling, country of origin, production and expiry
dates and the manufacturer’s name.
|Marking: Standard international shipping and handling symbols should be used,
but any special handling instructions should be marked both in English and in Arabic.
|Packing: Goods should be packed to withstand rough handling, extreme heat and
high humidity and packing boxes should be waterproofed. All containers entering into Egypt should be treated.
4. FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF FOREIGN TRADE OPERATIONS:
4 - 1. Banking system:
As to June 30, 1996, the Egyptian banking system was made up of the Central Bank
of Egypt and of the following banks:
28 commercial banks of which four public sector banks, and 24 Private and Joint
Venture Banks which respectively form 866 and 288 branches;
32 business and investments Banks of which 11 Private and Joint Venture Banks, 21
Off-Shore Banks which respectively own 88 and 41 branches;
4 Specialized Banks of which 1Industrial Development Bank, (14 branches), 2 Real
Estate Banks (21 branches), and one Principal Bank For Development and Agricultural Credit (967 branches).
Besides, the bank density is of about 27 per1,000 individuals and the number of
banks reached 2,267 most of which are located in Cairo, Giza and Sharkia.
4 - 2. Foreign exchange system:
There are no restrictions on the import of provided it is declared on an official
customs form. The Export of foreign currency is limited and may not exceed the imported amount. The import and
Export of local currency is limited to E£ 100.
4 - 3. Methods and means for international settlement:
Import payment in foreign exchange by the private sector is effected though the
commercial banks licensed non-bank dealers, Port Said or through importers’ own foreign exchange resources. Imports
by the Government are effected within the provisions of the foreign exchange budget.
Payment between Egypt and its partners with which it has not concluded any bilateral
payments agreements may be made in any convertible currency or in Egyptian pounds.
5 - 1. Applicable duties and taxes:
|Customs duties: Customs duties range between 5 percent and 70 percent, but rates
on luxury items including cigarettes, alcohol, and automobile may exceed 150 percent.
|Ad-valorem duties: most items are taxed on an ad-valorem basis. The tariff rate
in effect on the date of assessment is applied to the C.I.F. value of the goods.
Generally, the invoice price is used as the basis for duty assessment if its coincides
with the fixed selling price. The fixed price is based on the commercial invoice accompanying a product the first
time it is imported. If the invoice price is lower than the fixed price, customs value is the fixed price and the
importers may be subject to penalties for under-voicing.
|Preferential duties: Egypt is a member of the League of the Arab States and
its major institutions, including the Arab Economic Unity Council. Member States concluded an agreement aiming
at establishing The Arab Common Market. They agreed to remove customs duties on agricultural products, animals
and natural resources in trade among themselves.
|Customs surcharges and indirect taxes: Imported items are assessed a surcharge
to cover inspection, listing, classification, and re-examination of goods. The applicable rates are 3 percent for
goods dutiable at 30 percent or less than 6 percent for goods dutiable at more than 30 percent. The Government
had decided to eliminate this surcharge by July1995.
|Sale taxes: Sales taxes are levied at rates ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent.
Excise duty is collected on the imports of alcoholic beverages, benzene, coffee, cotton yarn, and several other
products. There is an additional excise duty on brandy, cognac, gin, and whiskey.
5 - 2. Special provisions:
Fines of 10 percent to 30 percent of the invoice value may be imposed on undervalued
goods. Contraband goods are confiscated and the importer prosecuted. The owner, the owner’s agent or an authorized
customs clearing agent may execute customs formalities for the entry of goods.
General cargo (products other than tea, petroleum products, and tobacco) is permitted
eight days of free storage, after which considerable demurrage charges accrue. Goods unclaimed after three months
will be sold to recover storage expenses.
Egypt is establishing anti-dumping regulations.
6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC:
6 - 1. International transports:
|Maritime transports: The main ports are Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.
There is a hydrofoil service linking Hurghada with Sharm el-sheikh in Sinai. There are two new ferries operating
a daily ferry service. Nile cruises operate between Luxor and Aswan.
|Air transports: The main international airports are Cairo International
22.5 km. Northeast of the city (CAI) at Heliopolis, Alexandria International and Nuzhah International (Aly) 7km
southeast of Mayden Al Tahir (Alexandria), and at Luxor Airport (LXR)is 5.5 km from Luxor. Egypt operates daily
flights between and Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, New Valley and Harghada.
Besides, Air Sinai operates services on the following routes: Cairo-Tel Aviv, Cairo-El
arish, Cairo-St Catherine and Eilat, Cairo-Ras el Nakab, Cairo-Luxor and Cairo-Sharm El Sheikh.
|Land transports: Railways: The rail network links Sallom on the Libyan
border to Alexandria and Cairo and operates along the Nile to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel. There are also links
to Port Said and Suez. There are frequent trains between Cairo - Alexandria - Luxor - Aswan.
Road networks: There are paved roads along Mediterranean and Africa Red Sea coasts.
6 - 2. Telecommunications:
Automatic telephones are available in the large cities. Telex and telegram services
exist in Cairo and at the big hotels.
6 - 3. Distribution system:
Foreign firms can sell directly to Egyptian firms if they are registered to make
direct sales. A few foreign firms use free zones or bonded warehouses to store goods, then hire their own employees
to sell door-to-door. Most foreign firms resort to Egyptian companies for whole sale and retail distribution. Egyptian
law requires that all commercial agents and importers have Egyptian nationality.
7. USEFUL ADDRESSES:
ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS
|International Trade Point. Ministry of Trade and Supply
||96, Ahmed Orabi Street P.O.Box.140 Imbaba 12411 Cairo
||Tel : (202)3033485-8
Fax : (202) 3033470
|Egyptian Export Promotion Center
||106, Gamaet El Dowal El Arabia St Mohandseen Giza
||Tel : (202)3493920
Fax : (202)3484142
|Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce
||4, El Falaky Square Cairo
||Tel : (202)3551164
Telex :92645 fedcoc un
Fax : (202)3557940
|Egyptian Businessmen’s Association
||Nile Tower - 21, Giza Street P.O.Box.265 Orman Cairo
||Tel : (202)5723855
Telex : 93550 usebc un
Fax : (202)5737258
|Central Bank of Egypt
||31 Kasr El Nil Cairo
||Tel : (202)751529
Telex : 223866