Exporting guide to Egypt

Overview

With its rapidly increasing population, advantageous geographic position and growing economy, Egypt is a market with a lot to offer. A number of UK companies are already doing business there, including BP, Shell, Vodafone, HSBC, GSK, AstraZeneca and Unilever.

Growing population

Egypt has a young and growing population of nearly 100 million people, the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (World Bank, 2018). Its consumer market is therefore sizeable, presenting significant opportunities for UK businesses.

Strategic location

Egypt occupies a strategic position for trade. It is home to the Suez Canal, a vital trade route between Asia and Europe and one of the key arteries of the world economy.

Economic potential

Economic growth in Egypt is strong. As a result of economic reform, foreign reserves have increased, unemployment has declined and there has been significant investment in infrastructure.

Rooftops in Egypt

Egypt: at a glance

Economic growth

3.3%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.4% (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

GDP per capita

$3,619

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected figure)

Currency

Egyptian pound

Business language

Arabic

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT +2

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Egypt have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Egypt

Preparing to export

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Egypt, provided certain conditions are met.

The VAT rate in Egypt is 14%.

Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate in Egypt is 22.5%.

Regulations

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the main government agency responsible for issuing standards.

The Egyptian Organisation for Standardisation and Quality (EOS) is the official body responsible for standardisation activities, quality and industrial metrology.

Intellectual property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Egypt.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Egypt

Challenges

Egypt has a lot to offer as a market, but does present some challenges. Bureaucracy and weak institutions may create complications, and the local workforce lacks education and skills. You should also ensure you are aware of any current security concerns.

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Patents are registered at the Egyptian Patent Office and trademarks at the Department of Trade Registry. Enforcement of IP law is not strong in Egypt, and trademark counterfeiting, copyright piracy and patent infringements are common.

Payment terms

You are advised to use secure payment terms such as payment in advance in Egypt. This is because contract enforcement in Egypt is weak, with the average time to resolve a dispute at 1010 days (20 days for filing, 720 days for trial and judgement, and 270 days for enforcement of a judgement). The cost (court fees, attorney fees, and enforcement fees) is about 26% of the claim value.

Entry requirements

You can get a visa for Egypt online
which will be valid for 3 months. You can get a visa on arrival, but it’s better to get one before you travel. You will normally have to pay a fine to leave Egypt if your visa is out of date by more than 14 days.

Legal system

Egypt is governed by civil law, with the legal system built on a combination of Islamic sharia law and the Napoleonic Code. The 2014 constitution is the supreme legislative source of law, followed by the relevant laws for individual areas. Executive regulations are issued to clarify, complete and explain the law.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.