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Egypt to establish electronic Single Window system to track goods for 1st time

CAIRO – 25 August 2020: Egypt will establish an electronic system for the first time to track goods until the final release stage, and to deal in customs with goods contracted with a modern e-commerce system, with the possibility of pre-clearance and payment of customs duties before the arrival of the goods, Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma’it commented after the approval of the House of Representatives on the draft customs law on Monday.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Tuesday, the minister added that the exchange of information and secured data electronically between the customs authority and state-affiliated entities or external parties with which they have concluded agreements will also be allowed.

He mentioned that a risk management system would also be introduced; This leads to the release of the goods without detection or inspection via the green path, in accordance with the established controls; This is in order to simplify procedures and speed up customs release.

The minister affirmed that his ministry is proceeding strongly in completing the implementation of the national project to modernize and automate the customs administration system, clarifying that this contributes to simplifying procedures, reducing the cost of goods, and reducing customs clearance times.

He indicated that this will be done through the optimal employment of modern technology, the localization of distinguished international experiences in the application of the "single window" system, and the gradual transition from a paper-based work environment to digital, in a manner that helps improve Egypt's classification in 3 important international indicators: "Global competitiveness, Doing business and the Macroeconomic Environment."

According to the minister, the new law includes new facilities for those dealing with customs, including: the introduction of a new system for settling customs disputes that allows grievances to the administration before resorting to arbitration; in order to prevent the escalation of disputes between the owners of the goods and the customs authority, and to develop consensual solutions to many problems through a joint committee that includes the parties to the dispute.

The law also includes the introduction of the temporary customs warehouse system so that the ports are transit gates for goods, and are not places for their storage or accumulation, in a way that contributes to legalizing the status of the yards and stores that originate inside the ports and through which customs services are provided on the imported and exported goods, according to the Minister.

Ma’it said that the new law aims to encourage national industry, reduce the cost of local production and maximize its competitiveness in the global markets, as it includes the advantage of installment customs tax due on machinery, equipment, devices, production lines and their requirements that do not enjoy any exemptions or reductions in customs tariffs when they are operating in the field of production.

He added that enjoying the installment advantage would be in return for paying an additional tax calculated as a percentage of the value of the unpaid customs tax for each month or part of it.

The minister explained that the new law includes exempting customs duties for government and university hospitals, equipment, medical supplies, medicines, blood products, serums, family planning methods, and baby milk. In fulfillment of the constitutional obligations to provide healthcare to citizens.

The legal framework for the free market system had been created; It was not previously regulated by the current law, as they were treated like private warehouses even though they were not warehouses in the strict sense, but rather places where goods were licensed to display and sell other than customs taxes, He mentioned.

The minister pointed out that the new law included the principle of non-prejudice to the exemptions established by other laws in effect to prevent duplication, such as the Sports Law, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law, and other laws that establish customs exemptions.

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