Customs and tariffs on cars manufactured in the European Union (EU) will still fall to zero next year, as planned in accordance with the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, the Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar said on Sunday.
Nassar denied any plans to put on hold a tariff cut on cars imported from the EU, in response to media reports which surfaced recently claiming that the authorities would delay such cuts, stressing the zero-duty access to Egypt as of 1 January under our trade liberalisation agreement with the European Union.
On Saturday, a few media outlets reported that the government plans to announce a two-year delay of the cut, after reaching an agreement with the EU trade officials, citing an anonymous government source.
Earlier in July, Nassar stated that the automotive directives will not be cancelled, and that rumours about cancelling the initiative are untrue.
He added further that the automotive industry and its components are one of the ministry’s top priorities, where a review and evaluation of the status of the automotive industry, and the feeder industries are being carried out.
A government source told Daily News Egypt at the time that the ministry is still working on the formulation of the strategy, which will ensure the deepening of domestic manufacturing, and the rehabilitation of Egypt in order for it to become a centre for car manufacturing and assembly.
The strategy will aim to establish a nationwide investment and tax incentive policy to automotive assemblers to move up the value chain towards manufacturing, to a system of special economic zones for car manufacturers with incentives.
The zero-duty will play in favour of the EU-assembled car model importers, allowing them to gain a price advantage over domestically assembled vehicles.
Tamer Shafei, head of the Spare Parts Industries Division at the Chamber of Engineering Industries, said as the entry of the EU cars into Egypt without customs is set to start from January 2019, it is essential to start taking measures to protect the national industry, and feeding industries in the country.