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Sunday, 1 August 2021

New customs system will be easier to navigate when it launches in October

Importers and their agents will be able to defer paying 70% of taxes and fees to clear cargo at shipping ports till after the cargo arrives, under new amendments (pdf) to the Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) system — also known as Nafeza — set to come into effect in October. Importers will be required to pay 30% of dues in advance before cargo arrives at Egyptian ports and will be entitled to a refund in the event that their shipment is banned from entry or disposed of. The new rules were approved last week by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait.

The Nafeza digital customs system is being rolled out by the Finance Ministry to speed up customs procedures and improve border security. Through Nafeza, businesses importing goods at ports will file shipping documents and cargo data digitally and ahead of arrival via the ACI, which is a World Customs Organization (WCO) protocol that runs on blockchain technology. The government had originally set a 1 July deadline for registration on the new system, which was then postponed in response to calls from the business community, who said they needed more time to prepare.

Want a breakdown of all you need to know on how to prepare for the new ACI system? We have this in-depth explainer here.

The amendments are the latest in a series of government attempts to reduce trade red-tape: The Customs Authority said earlier this year that it would establish a new unit dedicated to investigating complaints from exporters about customs procedures, while the cabinet decided to bring back the long-dormant export council to drive policymaking aimed at increasing exports.

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