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Intel campaigns for elimination of import duties
  Dubai, 11th Apr 2001

   After the success of its campaigns in Jordan and Lebanon, Intel will push even more for the removal of import duties on IT products in the GCC and Egypt.

"Both Jordan and Lebanon have reduced duty on IT imports, which is why I see no reason why the Gulf states and Egypt cannot do the same. For Intel, it's a top priority to convince regional governments about the need for low or zero duties on IT," said Gilbert Lacroix, general manager for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

Lebanon had duties of 15 per cent until four months ago. But CPUs and memory still have five per cent. In Jordan, the import duty has been zero for a year from 30 per cent earlier. But a sales tax of around 16 per cent is payable at the time of import.

Currently, Saudi Arabia imposes 12 per cent, Bahrain 8 to 10 per cent and Oman 10 per cent. In the UAE it is 4 per cent, while Egypt tops with 22 per cent. Meanwhile, the region has yet to witness any slowdown in PC sales contrary to what is happening in the U.S. and Europe.

"Intel Mena grew 48 per cent during the first quarter compared to last year, which shows that there has been no slowdown. My forecasts are for strong growth rates to continue for the full year."

While competitors have been able to make some headway over the recent past, Intel processors continue to power well over 80 per cent of the PCs in the region. "The PC is not dead by any account. In line with our extended PC concept, it will now go on to grow to be the central point for Internet connectivity inside the home, be it for MP3 players, video games, security systems, etc," said Lacroix.

"In the near future, we will have 20 to 30 appliances around the house which are linked to the Web. And instead of separate ones, the PC will act as the server. "But we are pushing with the manufacturers for the PC to be more user-friendly than it is now."

Intel has produced the findings of a survey of PC usage during the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival last month at the Deira City Centre. A portion of the feedback was sourced online through the news portal Arab Wide Web.

There were 700 respondents, 13 per cent of whom were women. Interpro, based in Istanbul, analysed the findings. Not surprisingly, surfing the Internet is the main use of the PC for those polled. About 52 per cent do so or plan to purchase a computer for that purpose. But only 18 per cent feel that a PC will help them do their shopping from home.

The PC is a "useful" tool for 44 per cent of those surveyed, a "discovery" tool for 19 per cent and an "entertainment" tool for 18 per cent. Sixty per cent of those polled felt the Internet was today's most innovative technology while the mobile phone ranked a distant second with 16 per cent. "The results show Middle East consumers are increasingly adop-ting new technologies to raise the quality of their lifestyles," added Lacroix.

Source: Gulf News

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