Daily News Egypt interviewed Chairman of the Central Administration of Cairo Customs Magdy Mohiuddin on the crises facing the automotive sector, among others economic sectors, related to changes in the Customs Authority and procedures for release.
What is the new plan for the Customs Authority to support importers?
We are currently working with The General Authority for Investment (GAFI) to establish a logistics centre in its building. The centre will issue release permits per provided documents before cars and goods arrive from abroad.
Importers will pay the charges according to the documents they provide for cars. Once they arrive at ports or airports, those documents will be reviewed and matched with the cars and goods. In the case of an increase in price, charges will be added.
Will you buy modern equipment to scan goods and shipments during the upcoming period?
The Customs Authority is about to receive 87 new x-ray scanners in the upcoming period as part of aid provided by the US. Each device costs between EGP 2m EGP 3m.
The devices will be distributed to customs agents overseeing the automotive, food, clothing, and other sectors.
How are importers charged for cars imported from abroad?
The Cairo Customs office has nine administrations, including the General Administration for Customs on Cars.
Customs are calculated based on the price guide issued by manufacturers, which differs from one car to another based on their specifications. We do not base charges according to indicative prices.
What is new with the conflict between Mercedes-Benz and BMW with the customs authority?
The conflict between Mercedes-Benz and BMW with the customs has been solved. We reached solutions that suit both parties. The conflict was related to the release area of the airport cargo zone.
The Customs Authority formed a committee to discuss the crisis with these companies and we found solutions for both of them.
Why is there an increased demand for maritime shipping among importers?
Air transport and shipping accounts for a weak proportion compared to the maritime transport since it is more expensive to move cargo on planes.
Most of the imports and exports of cars are made through sea ports for the low price of maritime shipping.
Customs in airports deal with private warehouses to store specific brands, such as EgyptAir, as well as a general warehouse for all cars.
Shipments that arrive from abroad without being entitled for auditing are released on the same day. If they have to be audited, there will be no time frame for releasing them since it could take days, weeks, or even months and they have to be reviewed by different committees and authorities.
Was the Customs Authority affected by the decision about chemicals?
The decision for examining chemicals has affected importers since they have to be reviewed by the Chemistry Administration, a committee from the Ministry of Health, Public Police, and the Ministry of Defence as well other concerned bodies.
The decision to release these goods depends on approvals of these bodies.
How do you deal with counterfeit bills?
The last period was plagued by forged invoices provided by a number of importers especially from China. The authority examines all documents and learns prices of car components from the websites of these cars.
How to set custom prices on cars and imported products?
The authority has been controlling prices of imported goods and cars more, which has supported the national industry, according to the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Industry. We have seized more counterfeit bills in all customs departments this year than last year.
What is the number of cars that were released from Cairo Airport Customs in 2014 and 2015?
The authority released 93 cars in 2014 and 231 cars between January and September 2015.
The rate of final release of cars in 2015 has multiplied significantly since 2014.