Egypt - Prohibited & Restricted Imports Egypt - Prohibited & Restricted Impor
Egypt restricts the import of used passenger vehicles. Passenger vehicles may only be imported up to one year after the date of manufacture. Egyptian regulations allow foreign investors to import a vehicle duty-free for their private use in the year of manufacture, provided that approval is obtained from the Chairman of the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones (GAFI). In May 2014, the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry issued a decree banning the importation of motorcycles and three-wheel vehicles, except for tricycles and chassis for trade. The decree bans the importation of CBUs (Completely Built Units) yet allows the importation of SKD (Semi Knocked Down) motorcycle chassis and engines. This ban remains in place today.
Beef and Beef Products
In June 2014, Egypt made two notifications to the WTO TBT and SPS Committees– G/TBT/N/EGY/48 and G/TBT/N/EGY/63; and G/SPS/N/EGY/56 and G/SPS/N/EGY/57, respectively – which amended Egypt’s meat and meat varieties standards by establishing a zero-tolerance level for synthetic animal growth promotants (synthetic hormones) in foodstuffs of animal origin. The new regulations are not science based and not based on risk assessment as there is no scientific evidence that, in conformity with Codex MRLs, residues of synthetic hormones in beef present a health risk for consumers. In 2018, the United States exported USD $66 million of beef and beef varieties to Egypt, down nine percent from 2017’s exports of $72 million. U.S. dairy product exports also dropped to $30.5 million, down 15 percent from 2017’s exports of $36 million.
In 2005, Egypt banned the import of whole frozen poultry, parts and offal. In 2006, the ban was eased by restricting imports to whole frozen poultry but continues to ban poultry parts and offal. U.S. industry is most competitive in the production of poultry parts as opposed to whole birds. In spite of the ban, Egypt’s General Organization for Veterinary Services (GOVS) has inspected and approved 22 U.S. poultry plants for export to Egypt. Inspection teams from GOVS have certified that U.S. slaughtering processes and food-safety measures are in accordance with halal practices. Opposition from domestic poultry producers blocks the import of more affordable, high quality U.S. poultry parts. As a result of the high cost of beef and beef products, lower- and middle-income Egyptians turn to poultry as an alternative protein source. Demand for poultry products outpaces supply, driving up prices beyond the reach of many lower-income consumers. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cairo estimates the impact of the poultry ban on trade at approximately $100 million.
Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation’s Decree 448 (Mar. 19, 2012) banned the import of heat-treated feather meal from all origins. Egypt cites contamination and nutritional value concerns as a justification for the ban. Although Egypt has notified the WTO, its notification omits references to it having similar concerns with its own domestic feather meal production. This ban is not science-based, contradicts OIE findings, and fails to meet Egypt’s WTO obligations. The OIE provides recommendations for feather and poultry meals imports based on heat treatment. The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Chapter 10.4 on Avian Influenza, Article 24) recognizes that feather meal treated at sufficiently high temperatures ensures the elimination of the AI virus and other potential contaminants.
At present, Egypt imports seed potatoes exclusively from the EU, primarily the Netherlands and the UK. For several years, Egyptian and U.S. quarantine officials have worked on a bilateral market access package: concurrent market access for Egyptian oranges and tangerines to the United States and U.S. seed potatoes to Egypt. The U.S. has finalized its risk assessment for Egyptian citrus, and in February 2015 Egypt approved certified seed potato imports from the state of California, leaving 15 other U.S. states yet to be approved. Thus far, the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture has declined to issue import permits for U.S. seed potatoes from any states. Bilateral discussions have stalled pending Egypt’s completion of a pest risk assessment for U.S. seed potatoes.
Medical Equipment and Supplies
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) prohibits the importation of used and refurbished medical equipment and supplies to Egypt. The ban does not differentiate between the most complex computer-based imaging equipment and the most basic of supplies. At present, even new medical equipment must be tested in the country of origin and proven safe before it will be approved for importation into Egypt. The importer must submit a form requesting the MoHP’s approval to import medical equipment. The importer will also provide a certificate issued by official health authorities in the country of origin, indicating that the medical equipment, subject to importation, is safely used there.
The importer must also present an original certificate from the manufacturer indicating the production year of the equipment, and that the equipment is new. In addition, the importer must present a certificate of approval from the FDA or the European Bureau of Standards or similar institutions in other jurisdictions. The importer must prove it has a service center to provide after sales support for the imported medical equipment, including spare parts and technical maintenance. The MoHP’s technical committee examines and reviews the technical specifications of the equipment before granting approval for import. These regulations also apply to donated medical equipment.
Pharmaceuticals and Nutritional Supplements
The Egyptian Ministry of Health prohibits the importation of natural products, vitamins and food supplements in their finished form. However, the Ministry of Health is currently looking at changing the multivitamins decree; this could lead to approved import of some multivitamin formulations into Egypt. These items may be marketed in Egypt only through local manufacture under license, or by sending ingredients and premixes to a local pharmaceutical firm to be prepared and packed in accordance with Ministry of Health specifications. Only local factories are allowed to produce food supplements, and to import raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
In January 2017, the Egyptian parliament established the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA). Effective January 2018, the NFSA assumed the responsibilities for food safety currently held by as many as 40 government entities answering to multiple ministries. The NFSA is now the one that reviews the registration of nutritional supplements. This is a step forward in opening the market for imported nutritional supplements as finished goods.
The Nutrition Institute and the Drug Planning and Policy Center of the Ministry of Health register and approve all nutritional supplements and dietary foods. Approval generally takes from four months to one year. Importers must apply for a license for dietary products. The validity period of the license varies from one to five years, depending on the product. After the license expiration date, the importer must submit a new request for license renewal. License renewal costs about 3,000 EGP (USD 166). However, if a similar local dietary product is available in the market, registration for an imported product will not be approved. Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.