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Egypt Suspends Imports From Hundreds of Brands, Including Nestle, Mobaco, and Almarai

April 17, 2022
Image Credit: Frederic J. Brown/WSJ

On Sunday, 17 April, Egypt’s General Organization for Import and Export Control (GOEIC) announced the suspension of import activities to Egypt for over 800 companies and factories for violating Resolution No. 43 of 2016 of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The resolution dictates that commercial imports will not enter Egypt unless the factories they are manufactured in are registered, or come from trademark-owning companies that are registered in accordance with the specified law.

According to a document published on the official GOEIC website, over 800 companies have been suspended from importing their products. The list features a notable cast of brands such as Redbull, Nestle, Almarai, Mobaco Cottons, and Macro Pharmaceuticals. 

Most notably, Unilever, a multinational corporation with over 400 brands such as Vaseline, Signal, Sunsilk Persil, Dove, Lipton Tea, and Axe, can also be found on GOEIC’s list. Technically, that means Unilever imports are under suspension pending re-registration.

However, an official statement by Unilever Mashreq in light of the suspension has indicated its industrial and commercial activities, be it imports or exports, are proceeding normally and regularly in accordance with all applicable laws and decisions within the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Unilever further highlighted it had stopped the import of products that are not required to be registered, such as Lipton tea, in accordance with Resolution 43 of 2016. The reason for that is that their products are manufactured in Egypt, and are exported to 45 countries.

Unilever invested over 1 billion EGP (54 million USD) in Egypt back in 2020, according to a statement by Ashraf Bakry, Chairman of Unilever Egypt.

Imports from the mentioned companies are henceforth suspended until the renewal of their registration. Upon renewal of registration and proof of quality certifications, the suspended companies can resume importing their products. Understandably, products manufactured and traded within Egypt from the same companies are exempted from the suspension.

Previously, the Ministry of Trade and Industry amended Resolution 43/2016. Most significantly, the amendment added that registration takes effect as soon as the completed documents are submitted within a period not exceeding 15 days. 

Furthermore, registration documents can also be submitted through a company’s respective embassies and consulates. The amendment also highlighted that registration documents yet to expire can renew immediately as long as it occurs 30 days prior to the expiry date.

Back in 12 February 2022, Minister of Trade and Supply, Nevine Gamea, announced that the ministry is developing a new product examination system for GOEIC branches near trade zones, to accelerate the import process.

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