In general, Egyptian customs allows for commercial samples and temporary imports for display purposes at officially recognized exhibitions or for sales promotion activities to enter the country duty free, with the exception of goods that are cited on the list of prohibited imports. Certain conditions do apply, however.
Medical samples must comply with the rules for the importation of pharmaceuticals, and samples of foodstuffs must comply with the relevant health regulations. In certain cases, goods imported on a temporary basis may be disposed of or sold in Egypt upon payment of the appropriate customs duty plus an extra tax of 10% per month after clearing customs.
On re-exportation of goods imported under temporary import regulations, companies should ensure that correct documentation and return of the letter of guarantee is obtained from the Egyptian Customs in order to avoid claims against the company at a later stage.
Printed advertising materials, such as catalogs, posters, or films, may also be imported duty free in small quantities.
Exporters may also take advantage of the drawback system. This procedure is different from the temporary admission system in that full customs duties are paid on the imported materials and the manufacturer does not fill out a special form with Customs. However, there is a one-year time requirement to re-export these imports as part of a final product in order to have the right to reclaim the full amount of the duties paid as well as other taxes such as the sales tax.
This procedure is cumbersome and refunding may take up to six months for processing. The agencies administering the program are tasked with the responsibilities of determining and then repaying the drawback amount. The Industrial Surveillance Authority carries out the first task, while the Customs Authority carries out the second. A delegate from Customs has to be present during the manufacturing process. To refund the amount paid, several administrative requirements must be satisfied:
• Details, such as quantities and materials used in manufacturing a unit of the exported products, must be provided to enable Customs to calculate the drawback rate;
• Proof of duties paid on the imported quantities must be furnished in order to collect an allowance in the drawback rate for wastage and scrap, quantities of such must be verified.
In addition, the following documents must be provided:
• Customs import release certificate
• Certificate of export of product
• Export permit
• Registered deed of sale from the original importer
• Customs clearance certificate
To speed up the reimbursement process, the Egyptian Government introduced in October 1999 a new "tax rebate" system, by means of which exporters could be reimbursed according to pre-specified rates for each industry. The tax rebate system currently covers more than half of the major exported commodities.