The government is considering new legislation regulating customs transactions and toughening penalties on customs smuggling, particularly in free zones, as part of larger efforts to protect industries from smuggled goods.
“The new legislation will consider smuggling to be trafficking, and therefore a crime of moral turpitude,” said Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb in a Sunday press statement.
The prime minister added that the government would deal firmly and decisively with smuggling in free zone areas, adding that the cabinet has already agreed on the new legislation.
“We, as a government, have direct instructions from President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to combat the phenomenon of goods smuggling,” he said.
He explained that at present, customs smuggling issues are being examined due to their negative repercussions for some industries, particularly the fabric industry and the interests of its employees.
Mehleb emphasised the need to combat the phenomenon of goods that do not conform to specifications entering Egyptian markets through tight controls on all imports.
“Coordination must take place between security agencies and the armed forces in order to control acts of smuggling and deal strongly and decisively with any smuggling operations that take place at customs ports,” Mehleb added.
The statements came during a meeting on Sunday between Mehleb and the ministers of industry and finance, and security, regulatory, and customs officials. The goal of the meeting was to agree on specific procedures to counter corruption that takes the form of customs smuggling.
“The government is adamant on decisively combating corruption in the form of smuggling of goods…these actions harm national industries,” Mehleb said.