CBE to stop accepting documentary collection in import operations

Hossam Mounir
4 Min Read

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decided this week to stop accepting documentary collection in the implementation of import operations and to work with documentary credits only.

In a letter to banks operating in the country, the CBE explained that branches of foreign companies and their subsidiaries will be exempted from this decision, while allowing banks to accept documentary collections for goods that were already shipped before the issuance of this decision.

He indicated that this comes within the framework of the Cabinet’s directives regarding the governance of import operations and the activation of the system of pre-registration of shipments, which will be applied compulsorily as of the beginning of March 2022.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait confirmed that the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system for pre-registration of shipments has received a certificate of confidence from the World Bank. It reflects the country’s success in implementing it in an optimal manner that achieves the desired goals of reducing customs release time, facilitating the movement of internal and external trade, and reducing customs clearance, and thus the cost of the import and export process.

Maait indicated, in a statement issued by the ministry on Monday, that the ACI system is — according to the Egyptian Economy Monitor Report that was issued by the World Bank for 2021 — a strong start towards completing the digitisation of the customs system, which is based on linking all ports through the one-stop-shop electronic platform, which helps stimulate the business environment by simplifying procedures for importers and exporters and alleviating their burdens.

He added that the one-stop-shop platform ensures easy access to all information related to Egyptian internal and external trade, especially in light of what allows it to benefit from tools for analysing this data in a way that contributes to enriching financial and economic policy reform, taking the right decisions at the right time.

“We succeeded with the business community in overcoming all challenges and implementing the pre-registration system for shipments through our methodology in societal dialogue about any decisions or advanced systems before their implementation, providing immediate technical support, and responding to all inquiries received by the call centre at the Customs Authority,” Maait said.

He pointed out that Egypt preceded many countries in the world in applying the pre-registration system for shipments. The average customs release time decreased by 50% according to the World Bank after implementing the unified electronic platform which saves about $400 per shipment in cross-border trade. In addition, the new system reduced the burdens of flooring and storage fees and container delay fines, amounting to about EGP 22,500 per container. 

Al-Shahat Ghatoury, the head of the Customs Authority, said that there are new facilities for importers and customs extractors in dealing with the pre-registration system for shipments, pointing out that commercial invoices for imported shipments were allowed to be accepted without seals provided they are issued by the producing company and its inclusion from the foreign exporter via the CargoX platform and its approval by the importer without prejudice to the requirements that must be met in the commercial invoice.

He added that the workers in the inspection areas were obligated to submit the results of the inspection of each customs declaration on a valid platform immediately after its completion without waiting until the end of the day to enable the inspection bodies to complete their procedures without delay, in a way that contributes to reducing the time of customs release.

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