Egypt’s imports rise 21.8% in first four months of 2018

Egypt’s imports jumped 21.8 percent during the first four months of 2018, recording $20.71 billion (370.25 billion Egyptian pounds) from $17 billion during the same period in 2017.

A source at Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade said that about 39 percent of the imports were production requirements and machines to be used in different industries, meaning that there is no increase in commodity imports.

Egyptian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said on Sunday that Egypt’s non-oil exports rose 16 percent during the first four months of 2018, recording $8.64 billion, compared to $7.43 billion during the same period of 2017.

The minister added that the total volume of foreign trade climbed 12 percent in the January-to-April period of 2018 to reach $29.36 billion, compared to $26.14 billion in the same period of 2017. Kabil stressed that the positive indicators of the Egyptian foreign trade reflect the success of the 2020 strategy.

The 2020 strategy was launched in November 2016 by Minister of Trade and Industry Kabil. It includes five main axes; industrial development, small and medium enterprise (SME) development and entrepreneurship, export development, training and technical education development, and corporate governance and development.

The strategy aims at increasing exports in the first place after strengthening the local industry.

The ministry seeks during the current period to enter new markets, expand in traditional markets and make full use of trade agreements signed with a large number of countries and economic blocs around the world to boost Egyptian exports to foreign markets.

Egypt benefits from the trade agreement that has lately come into action, reflecting the rising volume of its exports. The state is involved in international trade deals such as the Mercosur Agreement, which is a free-trade agreement signed by Egypt and Mercosur countries in 2010, including immediate customs clearance for 63 percent of the exports of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay going to Egypt.

The Mercosur trade deal covers food, cars, auto parts and industrial supplies, and was signed by Egypt and Mercosur members in 2010, but only came into force in 2017.

Another trade agreement that Egypt is committed to is the deal with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which represents a free-trade area with 19 member states, stretching from Libya to Swaziland.

COMESA was formed in December 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area, which had existed since 1981.