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Monday, 16 December 2019

House budgeting committee to finalize Customs Act in two weeks

LEGISLATION WATCH- House committee to wrap debate of proposed Customs Act in two weeks: The House Planning and Budgeting Committee is expected to wrap up ongoing talks of proposed changes to the Customs Act in two weeks’ time, committee member Talaat Khalil said, according to Al Mal. The committee has finished discussing a large part of the 55-article bill, which would:

  • Expedite clearance through a white list of importers;
  • Broaden the powers of customs clearance agents;
  • Provide an alternative pathway to settle customs disputes;
  • Include customs breaks for local manufacturers.

Committee signoff would pave the way for the act to head to the House general assembly for a vote in the new year.

Next on the committee’s agenda: The unified tax law and the tax dispute bill. After green-lighting the draft Customs Act, the committee is expected to dive into discussions about the unified tax law — a bill to create a single income tax filing system that received cabinet approval in October, Khalil added. The temporary tax dispute resolution bill is also expected to be brought to the committee’s table within the next two weeks, deputy chair Yasser Omar said. The legislation, finalized earlier this month by the Finance Ministry, would extend the recently expired Tax Dispute Resolution Act, which would mandate newly-established dispute settlement committees to handle tax disputes until 30 June 2020.

New specialized customs committees to set clearance process, duration: On a related note, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly issued yesterday a decision to set up permanent committees at customs ports of entry to outline a clear mechanism and timeline for shipping containers to be opened, inspected, and cleared, according to a cabinet statement. Each committee will include representatives from the Customs Authority, the General Organization for Export and Import Control, the Egyptian Food Safety Authority, the Agricultural Quarantine Authority, and any other body mandated with inspecting imports and exports.

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