Egypt - Selling and buying
Reaching the consumers
Market access procedures
Egypt is part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area. Egypt also belongs to the East African circle with the common market of eastern and southern Europe (COMESA) which should lead to a customs union.
The country have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
One of the difficult principles governing imports is the obligation to ship the goods directly from the country of origin (decree 619/98, November 1998), thus preventing the goods from being regrouped. This law has however been relaxed for companies having subsidiaries in other countries by permitting them to ship from the country of their registered office or from their overseas subsidiaries. Together with this the obligation to get the certificates of origin legalized in the country of origin of the goods has been introduced.
In fact, some products are still banned, especially in the field of textiles and poultry, and automobiles must be imported in the year of their manufacture.
Packaged goods must have an Arabic instruction booklet and all handling instructions must be written in English and Arabic.
Egyptian law requires that all commercial agents and importers have Egyptian nationality. If it is a company, the chairman and all members of the board must be Egyptian, and it must be 100% Egyptian-owned. However, distributor-type companies with any foreign ownership can market goods under certain conditions that limit flexibility of the foreign entity.
There are significant documentary restrictions; the original sales invoice and two copies of it, the original certificate of origin and two copies of it are required. These two documents must be certified and authenticated by the Egyptian consulate in the country of origin. For the certificate of origin, it is necessary to specify that the information given is exact and accurate. Further, the package list, the bill of lading with the name and address of the sender and the number of bills of lading sent are required. Since 1999, The Central Bank of Egypt informed national banks that all the letters of credit should be paid 100% in cash by the importer. A complete description of the product content is also required for products for which analyzes are compulsory.