The Egyptian parliament's budget and planning committee began on Sunday discussing a new government-drafted law aimed at regulating customs.
The meeting, headed by chairman of the committee Hussein Eissa, included representatives from the ministries of finance, housing, petroleum, antiquities, and higher education.
Officials from the customs authority, the federation of industries, union of chambers of commerce, and the Ministry of Defence's National Service Apparatus also participated in the meeting.
Eissa said that the law states that all customs systems in Egypt will be regulated by a single piece of legislation.
"It also stipulates that all goods that enter the country's customs province pay import taxes," said Eissa, adding that "the draft law allows businesses to pay customs taxes on machines, equipment, and production lines and requirements on instalments."
Eissa said the law also regulates the settlement of commercial disputes.
"It allows businesses to file complaints before they resort to arbitration in order to help settle disputes between owners of goods and the customs authority," said Eissa.
The government's explanatory note says that the law states that all customs systems will be governed by one legislation.
"This is necessary in order to modernise the Customs Law (66/1963), which has been in effect for 56 years and now it is high time for this law to be amended to go in line with developments in world trade," the note said, adding that "the two laws regulating customs and customs exemptions will be also unified under the new customs legislation," Eissa said.
"Besides, the law includes articles on electronic signature, paying customs taxes on instalments and release of goods, and establishes a new risk management system," said the note, adding that "the draft law also toughens penalties on smuggling in order to safeguard national industry and protect the country from foreign goods that cause harm to health and national security."