Chairman of the Egyptian Customs Authority (ECA) Sayed Kamal Negm has stated that a new draft customs law has been finalised and submitted to parliament to be discussed and ratified.
Negm’s comments came during a seminar held Tuesday organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
The new draft law, according to Negm, aims to simplify procedures for importers and exporters to release their cargos and to reduce time and costs, which will lead eventually to a decline in the cost of goods and products in the domestic market.
The new law will reduce the number of documents that exporters and importers have to submit to ECA to only six documents instead of 11 in the current law. In addition, it adopts a digital outlook that allows scanned documents to be accepted instead of paper ones, Negm clarified.
He added that ECA has put 87 x-ray devices at a number of customs points, and another 100 devices will be ready to use during 2020, which will ease the operation of inspecting imported and exported cargos in all ports.
“The authority has signed a cooperation agreement with the Italian Customs Authority — which is listed at the top of its field internationally by the World Bank — for the sake of upgrading Egyptian customs systems. Furthermore, we established two logistics centres in Cairo Airport and Port Said customs points, to reduce the required time for releasing cargos and to eliminate any attempt to forge documents. Other logistics centres will be established by June in Ain Sokhna, Damietta, Safaga, and Alexandria, covering 90 percent of Egypt’s imports from external markets,” Negm said.
Negm unveiled that ECA, as well, is considering reducing the time of cargo release to three days as of the inspection date, instead of 26 days.
Speaking of a white list that includes companies that are committed to customs rules, Negm explained that this list has not been activated for 25 years, but ECA reactivated it last November, while it remains open to applications by companies to be listed in that group. Some 52 companies have applied and will be accepted after revising their security data.
Listed companies will be allowed to clear their goods without being subject to standard full procedures.
“The anticipated law will be beneficial for the manufacturing and investment sectors in Egypt, and will help Egypt to improve its classification globally, as set by the World Bank," Negm said.