Import is strictly regulated by the Egyptian government permitting Egyptian nationals only and fully owned and managed Egyptian companies to import into Egypt. For importation into Egypt for the purpose of trade, companies/individuals should register with the Register of Importers.
Pursuant to Egyptian Law, import of goods and/or products requires an Importation License. Importation License is granted to Egyptian nationals, or partnerships wherein all partners are Egyptian nationals, or companies wherein all shareholders are Egyptian nationals.
For registering a natural person in the Register of Importers wishing to import goods for trading purposes, the following requirements should be met:
- He/she should be registered in the Commercial Register, and should hold a tax card;
- He/she should be of Egyptian nationality and if his or her Egyptian nationality was acquired, then at least ten years should have elapsed since the date of obtainment;
- He/she should have carried commercial activities for at least two consecutive years, or be a university graduate with a degree not less than bachelor's;
- He/she should have a clean criminal record;
- He/she should not be bankrupt, or if he or she was bankrupt, has now been rehabilitated.
- His or her business capital amount should not be less than L.E. 10,000, with some exceptions;
- If the person has been a civil servant performing duties related to commercial activities, then at least two years should have elapsed since the end of civil service;
- He/she should not be a member of the Parliament, the Advisory Council, a local municipality, or fully engaged in political work, unless he/she has undertaken such activities before being a member of such councils.
For registering a legal entity in Register of Importers, the following requirements should be met:
- The entity should be registered in the Commercial Register. For partnerships, the commercial registration should be at least one year old; and the capital of the partnership should not be less than L.E. 15,000. If capital exceeds L.E. 20,000 then it is exempted from the one- year condition;
- Entity's head office must be in Egypt;
- Activity description registered should include importation for trading purposes;
- All the partners and managers of partnerships and all the managers of companies must be of Egyptian nationality; in case of acquired nationality – at least ten years should have elapsed from the date of obtainment;
- The general partners of partnerships, and the managers of companies must meet the requirements (d), (e), (g), and (h) applicable to natural persons.
Pursuant to the Investment Law, all companies and establishments subject to Investment Law may import by themselves or through third parties the absolute necessities for the business operations such as: raw materials, production necessities, machinery and equipment, spare parts, means of transportation necessary for establishment, expansion and operation of the activity. Importers of such items are not obliged to register with the Register of Importers.
Importation of products by a licensed importer is executed through Letter of Credit (L/C) opened for the full value of the imported goods.
Certain entities in the public sector and governmental organizations may be exempted from restrictions on importation and may import directly from foreign suppliers. Wire transfer payment and other means of payment can be utilized.
Required Documents for Importer:
- An Import Card issued by the General Authority for Import/Export Quality Control at the Ministry of Industry;
- Tax Card issued by the Taxation Authority;
- Commercial Register
- Three forms of Annex 11 of the import/export executive regulations issued by Ministerial Decree 275/91
Information provided in application for financing import
In the application for financing imports in convertible currencies, the following should be provided:
- Type of imported goods;
- Country of Origin;
The importer retains one copy which is later submitted to customs for release of the shipment; second copy is submitted to the Foreign Trade Department at the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade; third copy is retained by the bank to track the payment.
The pro-forma invoice or final invoice should be stamped by the bank. (Note: Investment Law 230 companies must obtain approval from the General Authority for Investment to import material necessary for their operation.)
Documents presented to Customs to release imported commodities:
- Bill of lading: must contain the terms "Consignee" and "Notify Party." The information should correspond with that on the invoices and packages.
- Original invoice: must be issued in at least three copies (additional copies may be requested by importer). Invoices must give all details and include full description of the goods, price details (including freight, packing and other charges and/or discounts, net and gross weights, etc.). Should mention country of origin and country of manufacture. In case goods contain foreign components, the country of origin and relevant percentage must be indicated. The full name and address(es) of the manufacturer(s) must be indicated.
- Packing lists
- Certificate of Origin: should be issued in a minimum of three copies (additional copies may be requested by importer). Certificate of origin should state weight in kilograms, country of origin, country of manufacture (if products contain foreign components, the country of origin and percentage must be indicated), full name and address(es) of the manufacturer. For natural products, the country of origin is the country where the goods are grown or extracted; for manufactured goods, it is the country where the goods receive the form in which they are shipped with the exception of re-packaging, re-sorting and/or mixing)
- Form (EX): a bank form, applicable in cases of bank financing of the importation transaction. The form is not required if the importer provides financing of the transaction.
- Content analysis of the commodity, if required.
- Delivery order from the carrier in return for the bill of lading.
- Customs Procedural Certificate: a customs form that lists information and data including source and country of origin of imported commodities, name of importer, type of product, port of delivery, value, and quantity of the shipment.
Entities engaged in exportation from Egypt are obliged to register with the Register of Exporters.
No restrictions are imposed on foreign and local entities wholly or partially owned by foreigners with regards to export of products from Egypt. Entities subject to the Investment Law can export products directly or via a third party without a license. They are not obliged to register with the Register of Exporters.
Documents required for the exporter:
- An Export Card: issued by the General Authority for Import/Export Quality Control at the Ministry of Industry.
- Tax Card: obtained from the Taxation Authority or any of its offices.
- Original invoice.
- Customs Procedural Certificate: a customs form that lists information and data of the exported goods.
- Insurance Certificate: the following clause must be included in the Insurance Certificate – "Egyptian buyer not to bear extra insurance premium due to vessel's coverage"
- Pro-Forma Invoice: the pro-forma invoice must show the country of origin, name or importer, kind or commodity, customs tariff item, the unit, the quantity, price per unit, the basis of contract, and the amount in foreign currency.
Conditions, forms, proceedings and documents related to registration and its renewal, modifications of registry data including cancellations and deletions are defined by a decision issued by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry.
The Minister also defines levels of duties imposed on registration, renewal and modification of data and extracted copies.
The Minister also establishes prohibitions and restrictions of the export of certain commodities from Egypt. Thus, export of restricted commodities must comply with the conditions set forth.
A duty may be imposed on certain exported goods (not exceeding 100% of the value) for the exporter to realize a reasonable profit. Imposed duty and its increase are not applicable to export permits issued prior to such an imposition. Goods to which such duties are applicable, their amount, mode of collection, refund, total or partial exemptions are defined by a decision issued by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry.
Exporter may be required to present guarantee for export operations; such a guarantee is defined by the Minister or an authorized by the Minister person, through a decision which shall specify the kind of guarantee, its period of return and cases wherein it can be withdrawn.
Commodities subjected to control cannot be exported without obtainment of investigation certificate attesting that they conform to the conditions and specifications set forth in the decision of the Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry, upon agreement with competent authorities. Export of restricted goods must take place within the period specified in the certificate; otherwise a new certificate will be required.
Required Registration of Foreign Factories-Exporters to Egypt
According to the recently enforced Decisions No. 992 for the year 2015 and No. 43 for the year 2016, foreign factories producers of certain types of goods wishing to export goods into Egypt must register with the General Import and Export Organization (GOIEC). Some of the goods include: steel, household electric appliances, milk and dough products, home and office furniture, textiles etc.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.