Tax hike on “luxury” imports
For the second time in a year, Egypt raised imports tariffs on luxury goods, including fruits, cosmetics, stationery and electronics. Overall, tariffs on 320 goods increased by 40 to 60 percent last month, following 30- to 40-percent increases in January 2016. The ministers of trade and finance said the hikes aim to support local industry and reduce imports, yet will not affect goods imported from countries having a free-trade agreement with Egypt, including the EU, COMESA, the Arab region and Turkey, reported Ahram Online. In a joint statement, the ministries said an increase in imports in recent years had created an enormous burden on the economy, contributing to a $49-billion deficit in the public budget, while the latest tariff hike is expected to create a LE 6-billion bump in annual tax revenues.