Egypt-UK trade hits $1.33 bln in H1: minister
The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the United Kingdom recorded $1.33 billion during the first half of 2018, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Amr Nassar said on Tuesday.
The minister stated that the British investments in Egypt recorded $5.6 billion through 1450 projects in fields of industry, services, constructions, tourism, finance, agriculture, telecommunications and information technology.
This came during the minister’s meeting with British Trade Envoy to Egypt Jeffrey Donaldson to review the future of economic relations between the two countries, especially in light of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which is known as Brexit.
Brexit is a combination of two words, “British” and “exit”, and refers to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. In June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the EU with a percentage of 51.9 percent.
The meeting was attended by British Ambassador to Cairo John Casson, Advisor to the Minister of Trade and Industry for International Relations Magda Shaheen, and Chairman of the Commercial Representation Authority Ahmed Antar.
Former Minister of Industry and Foreign trade Tarek Kabil said that the trade exchange between Egypt and Britain recorded £447 million ($593.22 million) during the first quarter of 2018, compared to £414.8 million during the first three months of 2017.
Trade exchange between the two countries reached £1.86 billion in 2017.
Nassar emphasized the importance of enhancing trade and investment cooperation between both countries and upgrading them to unprecedented levels during the upcoming stage.
He further affirmed that Egypt and the United Kingdom share strategic economic relations supported by historical and solid political relations.
Nassar said there is consensus in the vision between officials of the Egyptian and British governments to develop and expand the current relations to better levels during the next phase. He pointed out that there are many opportunities that must be invested to strengthen the partnership between the private sectors in both countries.
The minister added that there is full coordination between the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Investment to create a suitable investment climate in the Egyptian market. He referred to the possibility of benefiting from the offices of the Egyptian Trade Representative to promote the investment opportunities available to the Egyptian and British business communities.
Nassar added that the ministry’s plan of action is currently focusing on West African markets to benefit from the huge export opportunities available in these countries’ markets. He pointed out that the East African markets within the scope of the COMESA agreement are among the pivotal markets for Egyptian exports on the African continent.
“There are also significant opportunities to increase Egyptian exports to the markets of Syria and Iraq, especially in light of the current reconstruction projects,” he said.
He pointed out that the ministry seeks to increase foreign direct investment in the labor-intensive sectors in the field of industry and services. He stressed the importance of negotiations between the Egyptian and British governments regarding liberalization of trade in services, which will lead to the start of new investments in the fields of transport, distribution and logistics.
For his part, the British trade envoy said his visit to Cairo aims at boosting strategic and trade relations between Egypt and the United Kingdom and preparing for the post-British exit from the European Union.
He pointed out that the British business community is seeking to explore the investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market to start joint investment projects which serve the Egyptian and British economies alike.
He also pointed out the possibility of enhancing investment cooperation between the two countries’ business communities and setting up joint investment projects in the African countries to benefit from the huge opportunities and possibilities available in these countries.
Donaldson further noted the possibility of achieving more cooperation between the two sides in the fields of technical support and exchange of experiences and experts in the industrial field.
In a previous statement, Donaldson stressed that Britain welcomes the economic reforms in Egypt, and observes success and positive indicators in this regard.
“There is still a lot to do, but what is happening is helping to reduce unemployment and attract investments. This is part of my work to remove obstacles to British investment,” Donaldson said.
He pointed out that Egypt’s interest in education and culture meets Britain’s interest to boost partnership between both countries regarding these files.
The British trade envoy clarified that the goal of the partnership is to help the Egyptian government use technology and digital learning in both fields, noting that they will work on enhancing relationships between public and private sectors.
“We will encourage the cooperation between universities,” Donaldson added.
Source: Egypt Today