Industry Ministry examines overturning gold export ban

The Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade is considering removing the current export ban on gold after economic and political conditions have stabilized, said Minister of Trade Samir al-Sayyad.

The Industry Ministry imposed the ban on 27 February, saying it was a temporary measure to prevent former officials and businessmen illegally transferring money abroad by turning it into gold.

Al-Sayyad told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the ban was prompted by exceptional circumstances and was intended to preserve Egypt's resources.

Egypt's current stability has encouraged the ministry to look at the possibility of lifting the ban before its scheduled date in June, the minister said. Whatever happens, he said, there is no intention to extend the ban.

Many gold producers and exporters opposed the ban, saying that closing the legitimate door to exports encourages smuggling.

Wasfi Amin, the head of the gold jewellery sector at the Federation of Egypt Chambers of Commerce (FECC), earlier said his department had submitted a memo to the Minister of Finance asking him to urge the Industry Ministry to lift the ban which, he said, will affect the state's foreign currency resources.

Exporter Ahmed al-Mawardy said gold smuggling to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Dubai is thriving. He said smugglers use cargo and refrigerated trucks to hide gold from customs authorities.

According to al-Mawardy, Egypt exported as many as 14 million tons of gold last year.

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