Egypt - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade

Describes the country's standards landscape, identifies the national standards and accreditation bodies, and lists the main national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.

Last published date: 2020-09-15

The official application of standards in Egypt began in 1957 when Presidential Decree 29 of 1957 established the Egyptian Organization for Standardization (EOS). In 2005, the name was changed to the Egyptian Organization for Standards and Quality. Egypt has 8,500 standards, of which 5,000 are Egyptian technical regulations or mandatory standards. EOS reports that it harmonized mandatory standards with international standards, and that about 80 percent of its mandatory standards are based on standards issued by international institutions such as the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization. In the absence of a mandatory Egyptian standard, Ministerial Decree 180 of 1996 allows importers to choose a relevant standard from seven international systems including ISO, European, American, Japanese, British, German, and for food, Codex standards.

Most of these specifications are optional except for those related to general health, public security and consumer protection. A ministerial decision issued by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment is needed to require compliance to these specifications. Obligatory standards constitute around 15 percent of the total number of Egyptian specifications.

There are three main official Egyptian governmental organizations involved in developing and enforcing the standards used in Egypt:

  • Egyptian Organization for Standards and Quality Control (EOS)
  • The EOS is affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and issues standards and technical regulations through a consultative process with other ministries and the private sector.  Verification of compliance with standards and technical regulations is the responsibility of agencies including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and, for imported goods, the General Organization for Import Export Control (GOEIC) in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

General Organization of Export and Import Control (GOEIC)

GOEIC is part of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. A 1999 Presidential Decree designated GOEIC as the coordinator for all import inspections. GOEIC currently has 26 offices and laboratories located at all the major sea and airports for import inspection, as well as 11 others located throughout the country for export inspection. GOEIC is responsible for testing imported and exported products to ensure they meet EOS standards. Moreover, GOEIC may also indirectly generate standards through the use of an ad hoc technical committee. This committee provides recommendations for either creating or modifying a standard. These recommendations are then passed on to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to be authorized and formalized.

The National Institute for Standards (NIS)

NIS is part of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. NIS is Egypt’s primary standards laboratory. NIS is mostly concerned with measurements, testing, calibration, accreditation and consultation, and it also provides laboratory accreditation services.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Notify U.S. Service

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S., managed by NIST, is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect your access to international markets. Register online at: Notify U.S.

Conformity Assessment

Current import regulations require that every component of a product be inspected, regardless of the compliance history of the product, country of origin, exporter, shipper or importer. Imported products cannot be put up for direct sale on the Egyptian market without first conforming to Egyptian specifications or the standards of one of the international organizations that Egypt is affiliated with, e.g. ISO, IEC and Codex Alimentarius, if no Egyptian standard exists. When a new product enters the country that has not previously been imported, customs officials will often insist that there must be a written description or standard to qualify a product for import.

Hence, even if there is no such standard for the new product, the customs inspectors will try to fit the product into a previously existing standards category, a process commonly called “standard creation at port.” The EOS often tries to apply the same standards to products that seem to be “historically” common in nature. Inspection and testing of imported goods will differ according to the nature of the consignment. Agricultural products, for example, are sent to special agricultural authorities in the Ministry of Agriculture for detailed chemical inspection. Industrial and manufactured commodities may be directed for control at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.  Some medical products, for example, will be directed to the Ministry of Health, EOS and other accredited laboratories. 

Inspection of all imported chemicals or “white powder” materials is directed by the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) to authorized laboratories. Certificates of analysis performed previously to demonstrate compliance of previous shipments will not be considered. 

Importers should abide by the following conditions and documents:

  • Issue a General Power of Attorney to the Customs clearance representative
  • Provide GOEIC with an original Safety Data Sheet
  • Provide GOEIC with a ratification letter stamped by the bank, confirming the non-disposition of the consignment until a final analysis report is issued (which permits the shipment to be released under reservation)
  • If the consignment is LCL/FCL and mixed with other type of cargo, then the entire shipment may not be released under reservation.

It has been mandatory since the establishment of GOEIC that a sample be sent for laboratory analysis, usually for the sole purpose of classifying the product according to HS codes. This process is a vital procedure in cases where Customs is unsure about product classification and tariffs due. Therefore, a number of different entities have the right to take samples of the imported shipment for further inspection and testing.

A large number of items are repeatedly imported into Egypt. Previous rules specified that shipments must be tested to verify conformity to standards requirements, irrespective of whether the preceding shipments were accepted or rejected, meaning inspection and testing is repeated each time.

Accreditation

Presidential Decree 312 of 1996 established the Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC), a governmental organization, as the sole national body for the assessment and accreditation of conformity assessment bodies that perform testing/calibration (laboratories), and inspection and certification of products and systems as well as personnel. EGAC is headed by the Minister of Trade and Industry and governed by a board of 14 members, representing all stakeholders and concerned bodies.

Publication of technical regulations

The Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC) plans to publish a directory for all the companies that have been accredited for ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 certificates.

The EOS library is the only library in Egypt specializing in the field of standard specifications and its related publications.

Contact Information

Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality - EOS

Address: 16 Tadrib El Moalemeen St., Amirya, Cairo

Tel: +2-02) 2284-5528, +2-02-22845529, Fax: +2-02-22845504
 

General Authority of Export and Import Control (GOEIC)

Address: Airport Building, Heliopolis, Cairo

Hot Line: + 2-00-8006667666

Hot Line: 19591

Tel: +2-02-2266-9620/02, Fax: +2-02-2268-1731/02, +2-02-2266-6847/9342
 

National Institute of Standards (NIS)

Tersa St., El-Haram, Giza

PO Box 136 Giza 12211

Tel: +2-02-3740-1113, +2-02-3388-9760, +2-010-0604-4616, Fax: +2-02-3386-7451

 

U.S. Embassy Cairo

U.S. Commercial Service

Tel: +2-02-2797-2038, Fax: +2-02-2795-8368

Email: office.cairo@trade.gov