Joint Ventures/Licensing in Egypt

An Expert's View about Joint Ventures in Egypt

Last updated: 13 Mar 2011

The details of joint venture or licensing agreements between Egyptians and their foreign partners are a matter of mutual agreement, defined by their contract, not by special law. Liberalized foreign exchange regulations since 1991 permit the free transfer abroad of profits and dividends. Invested capital may be repatriated without prior approval of the government's investment authority, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI). Foreign equity in joint ventures can be as low as a few percentage points, depending upon mutual agreement. Egyptian Law No. 8, the Investment Incentives and Guarantees Law, allows foreign investors to own any amount, up to 100%, in projects in most sectors.


Approval is not required for licensing agreements involving trademarks and technical know-how other than "process secrets." A stiff withholding tax is levied on royalty payments unless a double taxation treaty exists. There is a U.S.-Egyptian treaty for the avoidance of double taxation, which limits tax on royalty payments to 15% of the gross amount of such royalty. Numerous government and private companies have licensing agreements with foreign firms under which royalties and other fees are freely transferred abroad pursuant to individual corporate agreements. Examples of licensed production in Egypt include name-brand clothing, personal care products, kitchen utensils, pistols, laser alignment equipment, and military vehicles. Service licenses include diving training, and franchised services including personal care and restaurants.


Some U.S. investors have looked to Egypt as an investment site in order to benefit from U.S. Government procurement preferences. Under the U.S. Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Egypt is a "designated country" (among many others) from which certain goods theoretically could be procured by the U.S. Government as if they were made in America. However, this rule does not apply because the FAR requires such countries to sign the GATT/WTO Procurement Code, and Egypt has not done so yet.




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Posted: 07 June 2010, last updated 13 March 2011

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