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EU challenges Egyptian import restrictions at the WTO

The EU has requested dispute settlement consultations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) with Egypt on its compulsory import registration requirements. The EU considers that these requirements violate WTO rules because they place import restrictions on a vast range of goods, from agricultural products to household appliances.

EU exports to Egypt on the wide range of goods concerned fell by 40% following the imposition of the compulsory import registration requirements in 2016.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, yesterday said:

The EU is today acting to defend EU exporters who are facing unfair restrictions in accessing the Egyptian market. These import restrictions are illegal under WTO rules and we regret that Egypt has not acted to remove these, despite our repeated requests and efforts to resolve this issue. This is why we are now taking the next step by requesting consultations at the WTO.”

Since 2016, foreign factories and companies wishing to import certain goods into Egypt are required to register with the Egyptian authorities. The registration requirements currently cover 29 categories of goods, including agricultural and food products, cosmetics, toys, textiles, garments, household appliances, furniture and ceramic tiles.

The registration process is arbitrary and can take years. The Egyptian authorities have failed to process the applications of many EU companies for long periods of time despite numerous interventions from both the affected industries and the EU. 

The compulsory registration and related delays in the processing of applications constitute restrictions on imports and as such are incompatible with the WTO Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994), on Agriculture and on Import Licensing Procedures.

Click here for the full press release

 

Original article link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_578

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