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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Has the EU rejected Egypt’s proposal to delay delay 0% customs duties on car imports?

Has the EU rejected Egypt’s proposal to delay 0% customs duties on car imports? Egypt will cut tariffs on European cars to zero starting from January 1, 2019, under a trade agreement between Egypt and the European Union, EU Ambassador to Egypt Ivan Surkos reportedly said on Thursday, according to Youm7. The government apparently confirmed at a meeting of European-Egyptian Partnership Committee that tariffs would fall to zero, Surkos said.

Background: The report doesn’t make clear whether the EU rejected a Trade and Industry Ministry proposal — revealed to us by government officials — to delay 0% customs on EU cars for another 1-2 years, or whether the ministry decided to pull the proposal. Sources had told us that there is a strong possibility that the EU would accept the request.

The Finance Ministry hasn’t yet been officially notified that customs are to fall to zero on 1 January, Magdy Abdel Aziz, an advisor to the finance minister on customs affairs, said on Masaa DMC yesterday. The notice may not arrive until one week before the decision comes into effect, he noted (watch, runtime: 13:28). Abdel Aziz neither confirmed nor denied the Youm7 report.

Where do things stand with the automotive directive? The idea of delaying the customs cut came after it was revealed that the government was overhauling the stalled automotive directive law — legislation that would give incentives to local assemblers to move up the value chain to manufacturing in return for tax breaks that would give them an ongoing price edge against EU, Turkish and Moroccan-made imports. Sources had told us that the government was reworking the incentives system in the law from a general, nationwide system to a program of auto freezones.

Is Ghana going to get an automotive directive before us? Ghana pledged to draw up a policy that will govern a future automotive sector as it looks to attract some of the biggest names in the global industry, Bloomberg reports. “The auto policy will be in place before the end of the year,” Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen said last Tuesday. The pledge was part of an agreement with Nissan Motors to build an assembly and manufacturing plant in Ghana, which has signed agreements with Volkswagen AG and China’s Sinotruk International in the last three months. A number of auto companies had said they would consider opening plants in Egypt should the automotive directive be approved. The Ghana auto industry policy is one of several on the continent, which has helped turn Africa into an auto manufacturing hub, as noted by the Wall Street Journal.

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