Egypt reverses new regulations on duty free liquor and tobacco limits

EGYPT. The Egyptian Ministry of Finance has reversed regulations, introduced just two weeks ago, that had slashed limits on Arrivals duty free liquor and tobacco purchases, and outlawed downtown duty free sales of these categories.

As reported, new rules came into force in mid-December that severely threatened the viability of some travel retailers, with a sharp impact on liquor and tobacco sales predicted.

But this week these regulations were amended following heavy lobbying among airports and retailers. The new limits increase the quantity that a traveller can purchase on arrival to three bottles of spirits and three cartons of cigarettes. The same limits apply in downtown duty free shops. Previously, the allowances were four bottles and four cartons, though this had been slashed to one bottle and one carton.

Sherif Toulan, Business Development Director at Egyptian retailer and distributor IDF Trading & Agencies, said: “The reason behind the change in the first place was to boost [sales of] locally produced liquor and tobacco. They had to revise it again, after the lobbying of all operators beginning last week, as the Minister realised the dramatic losses such a regulation can cause. So the final situation in all downtown and arrival duty free stores, is an allowance of three bottles of liquor and three cartons of cigarettes instead of four and four.”

How the news of the reversal was reported at local news organ Ahram Online

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