Jordan levies import tax in a move to undermine Egypt, analysts suspect

The Jordanian government says it will now charge import taxes on its ceramics imports. But the country will exempt 60 countries including Israel and Turkey from the fees, a move described by Egyptian exporters as an attempt to undermine the Egyptian ceramics industry–considered the biggest competitor in the Jordanian market.

President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sherif Afifi said Jordan’s decision last week will tax nearly US$1.1 on each meter of ceramics, leading to a 30 percent increase in the price of Egyptian ceramics. He said the decision has led Jordanian importers to stop importing from Egyptian companies; the move has encouraged companies to foster deals with Turkish companies instead.

Afifi told Al-Masry Al-Youm local companies, together with Jordanian importers, will appeal the decision in the Jordanian courts. He also called on the Egyptian Government to levy a comparable tax on Jordanian imports.

Afifi said import duties are applied internationally to protect local industries. But Jordan has only one ceramics production company which has halted production for some time now due to the poor quality of its product, according to Afifi.

Afifi described the Jordanian decision as “intransigent”. He also said the Federation of Egyptian Industries sent an urgent note to Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rasheed Mohammad Rasheed to put a stop to the expected losses that will be incurred by local companies. Egyptian ceramics are mostly exported to Arab countries. Jordan imports nearly 15 percent of all Egyptian ceramics exports.

This decision does not consider the fact that Egypt exports its natural gas to Jordan at prices very near to local prices, according to Afifi, despite the shortage of natural gas in the Egyptian market.

Translated from the Arabic edition


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