Egypt - The General Organisation for Import and Export Control (GOEIC) that is affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry decided on Sunday to halt the import of products from 814 foreign and local factories and companies.

The GOEIC said that these companies have been denied the privilege to export to Egypt’s local market due to the expiration of their certificates and for violating resolution no. 43/2016 concerning the amendment of rules governing the registration of factories eligible to export their products to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The list includes companies from China, Turkey, Italy, Malaysia, France, Bulgaria, the UAE, the USA, the UK, Denmark, South Korea, and Germany.

Some of the companies in question are actually global leading corporations, including Unilever, which has another branch in Egypt and produces a number of products such as Lipton tea, Dove cream, Close UP and Signal toothpastes, Axe, Persil, Live Boy, Vaseline, Rexona, Omo and Lux soap. Also on the list are Luna Industrial Investments, Mobaco for Industries and Trade, and the famous Saudi Al-Marai, which produces juice and dairy products among other things.

The trade ministry has had a clear strategy since 2015 to reduce deficit in trade balance through import control by issuing a number of decisions to limit random imports and legalising import procedures in general, as well as working to increase exports.

The ministry’s decree no. 43/2016 includes the establishment of a register of factories and companies owning trademarks eligible to export products at the GOEIC. The decision also stipulates that these products imported for the purpose of trading may not be released unless they are produced by registered factories or imported from companies that own the mark or their registered distribution centres for some of the commodities specified by the ministry in its decree.

Additionally, the decree specified some goods that require the registration of factories imported to Egypt with the GOEIC, including dairy products, imported fruits, oils, sugar products, carpets and floor coverings, clothing, textiles and furniture, lighting devices for home use, home and office furniture, children’s toys, household appliances, glass, rebar, chocolate, and paper.

The ministry issued a press statement on Sunday clarifying that the decree was issued to halt or write off companies exporting to the Egyptian market and does not target specific companies or products of specific countries.

The ministry explained that it also issued decree no. 195/2022 last March, which included amending rules governing the registration of factories qualified to export their products to Egypt and contained in ministerial decree no. 43/2016 with the aim of facilitating procedures for companies and setting specific timelines for registration.

Companies wishing to export to Egypt must renew documents that have an expiration date within a period not exceeding thirty days from the date of expiry.

The press statement highlighted that the factory registration unit at the GOEIC reviews documents submitted by companies for registration in order to ensure that the company or factory is an existing entity and subjects its products to quality control systems, and it includes a list of documents that need to be renewed — namely quality certificates, trademarks, and industrial registry.

The ministry pointed out that if there is a document that has expired, a warning will be sent for a period of two weeks on the authority’s website, and if it is not renewed, the suspension procedures will be started for a year. The corporate commissioners are fully aware of these procedures as they sign declarations to renew all expired documents.

With regard to the names of some companies that were included in the list issued by the authority recently — whether suspended or struck off — these companies did not provide the required documents, and so legal measures were taken to implement the rules of the registration system, bearing in mind that the GOEIC writes off the names of companies that reconcile their positions on a timely basis.

Since the beginning of the current year, 122 companies have reconciled their status, according to the statement.

The official spokesperson for the ministry affirmed that the economic and commercial relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are witnessing a remarkable development in light of the friendly relations that link the leadership, government, and peoples of the two brotherly countries.

From this point of view, the official spokesperson denied the issuance of any decisions by the ministry that would prevent the export of Saudi products to the Egyptian market, stressing the ministry’s keenness to provide the necessary facilities for Saudi companies, whether they are investing in or exporting to the Egyptian market.

For his part, Hazem Al-Menoufy — a member of the Food Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce — said that the decision to halt importing Al-Marai products, Lipton products, and others will not affect the Egyptian market because all these products are manufactured in Egypt and only 5% of them are imported.

“For example, Danone chocolate products — there is the Egyptian Danone and the imported Danone… The Egyptian market will not be affected by not importing these products,” he added.

Al-Menoufy also disclosed that companies exporting to Egypt that have been removed from the register of exporters may appeal against this decision within 60 days and reconcile their situation.

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