Govt bans import of exotic pet birds

The government has banned the import of exotic birds until 30 June in what it says is an effort to protect local fowl from disease.

The ban, issued by the General Authority for Veterinary Services, covers imports from the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Poland, Spain, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Colder weather could increase the spread of illnesses and potentially endanger local poultry stocks, said Youssef Mamdouh, director of veterinary quarantine services, in statements made Wednesday.

In 2012, Egypt imported 38,731 pet birds, including 200 parrots, according to Mamdouh, who noted that the ban is temporary.  

An official source at the Agriculture Ministry had estimated importers spend around US$5 million (or more than LE33 million) to import the birds annually. The birds' local market value is estimated at more than LE50 million, and they are popular as pets among the wealthy, the same source said.

The source suggested Egypt impose increased custom fees on the import of birds because it is a luxury importers pay for in foreign currency at a time when the local pound is losing value and foreign reserves are critically low.

The government has recently announced it would increase tariffs on luxury imports and goods with quality local equivalents.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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