Trade between Egypt, U.S. hits $5.6 bln in 2017

Bilateral Trade between Egypt and the U.S stood at $5.61 billion in 2017, compared to $4.97 billion in 2016, increasing by 13 percent, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Sunday.

The most prominent Egyptian exports to the U.S include readymade garments, textiles, fertilizers, iron and steel, vegetables and fruits, while imports from the U.S include soya beans and civil aircrafts, Kabil said.

This came during the minister’s meeting with a delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham) as part of the preparations for an upcoming door-knock mission to Washington, which aims to boost Egyptian exports to the U.S. market in light of the trade agreements signed between both states. U.S investments in Egypt currently stand at $2.4 billion represented in 1,222 projects in the fields of industry, services, construction, agriculture, communication and information technology, the minister said.

He added that the U.S. investments in Egypt represent around 35.4 percent of the U.S’s total direct investment in Africa and 46.2 percent of its investment in the Middle East.

Egypt is the biggest recipient of U.S investment in Africa and the second biggest in the Middle East, Kabil said.

He further said that the U.S. market is an important export destination for Egyptian products, adding that Egypt is considered the main gateway for U.S. products to Africa and the Middle East, the matter that helped attract U.S investment to Egypt.

Kabil pointed out that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to Washington last year has paved the way for a new era of political and economic relations between Egypt and the U.S.

He said that 2018 saw many high-level visits by U.S. officials to Egypt, which aimed at enhancing strategic cooperation in various fields between both states.

This is in addition to resuming negotiations of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which is considered a main tool to remove all trade obstacles between Egypt and the U.S. in a way that will improve bilateral relations over the coming period.

The door-knock mission will take place in March and will last for five days to promote investment in Egypt, Head of the AmCham Tarek Tawfik said.

He added that the mission will hold a series of meetings with a number of American companies and financial institutions as well as meetings with American policy makers, banks, research centers and congressmen to discuss ways of boosting trade and investment ties between Egypt and the U.S. over the coming period.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also met with a delegation from the AmCham as part of preparations for the door-knock mission.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement that the foreign minister is “keen to meet with the AmCham delegation members every year ahead of their periodic visits to the US in order to discuss means of boosting Cairo-Washington relations”.

The meeting touched on the outcome of the recent visits made by the US senior officials to Egypt, including the latest visits of US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Cairo.

In January, Kabil said that non-petroleum exports to the U.S. significantly increased by 17.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2017 to reach $1.34 billion, compared to $1.14 in the same period of 2016.

Meanwhile, the country’s overall exports to the U.S. increased in the first 10 months of 2017, standing at $21.1 billion, compared to $17.85 billion in the same period of 2016, the state statistics agency CAPMAS said last month.

Petroleum exports amounted to $1.96 billion in the same period, compared to $1.6 billion a year earlier.