Since March 2016, brand owners seeking to export select goods to Egypt have been subject to a rigorous recordal system implemented by the General Organisation for Export and Import Control (‘GOEIC’). Ministerial Decree number 23/2016 was implemented as a means of reducing the number of counterfeits entering the Egyptian market, creating a recordal database that the authorities could use to help verify the authenticity of shipments entering the country.
As of the date of writing, recordals with GOEIC apply to 29 categories of goods (increased from the original 25 categories). Some of these goods includes cosmetics, clothing, footwear, mobile phones, household appliances, hair removal appliances, some food products etc. If a brand owner is planning to export any of the applicable goods to Egypt, it is imperative that they comply with the recordal process to avoid their goods being detained by customs. In light of the onerous requirements, not to mention the length of time that it can take to prepare and complete the recordals, forward planning is key so that lost sales can be mitigated and any strain on relations with local distributors can be avoided.
To complete the recordal process, brand owners are required to record the following information with GOEIC; evidence of its trade mark registration(s), a full list of goods sold under the trade mark(s), full details of its manufacturing factories alongside copies of the factories quality control certificates, and full details of its distributors. At present, it can take 3-4 months for these recordals to be prepared, filed and completed, without any means to expedite. As such, brand owners need to anticipate any export involving Egypt so that it can be adequately prepared and enjoy an uninterrupted flow of goods. In particular, brand owners need to consider the trade mark protections that it has (or may not have) in place, as this will have a direct impact on its ability to complete the recordal process.
Once completed, continuous requirements are placed on the brand owner throughout the life of the recordal. For example, once a manufacturing factory’s quality control certificate expires, a copy of the new certificate must be submitted. If a brand owner appoints a new distributor or manufacturing factory, the records must be updated accordingly. Any changes that have an impact on the recordal must be recorded by way of an amendment recordal. Failure to record the required updates can result in incoming goods being seized.
Since its implementation, given the length of time it can take to have the recordal completed and the related impact on delayed/lost sales for brand owners, there have been calls to have the recordal requirements removed. However, to date, they are still in place and must be adhered to. The number of goods subject to the recordal might also change at any time, so it is important for brand owners to seek advice before proceeding with exportation and cementing relationships with local distributors in Egypt.