Egyptian-Chinese economic and trade relations have so far performed well below their potential, as the president’s visit to China hopes to change that – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Niveen Wahish, 30 August – 5 September 2012.
“Everything is Chinese,” is a phrase often repeated by shopkeepers and shoppers alike. And it is not unfounded. Chinese products have inundated the Egyptian market. In fact, around 15 per cent of Egypt’s imports, the equivalent of $7.5 billion, originates in China. On the other hand Egypt’s exports to China amount to only around $1.5 billion. And while Chinese exports to Egypt are huge, its investments leave a lot to be desired. They only amount to around $500 million, according to the Egyptian Ministry for Trade and Industry.
A delegation headed by President Mohamed Mursi was in China this week hoping to change that. The delegation, which included 75 Egyptian businessmen as well as a handful of ministers specialising in investment, communications, tourism, trade and industry and transportation, set out to change the way Egypt does business with China and to attract more of China’s $60 billion in overseas investments.
During the visit, the two countries signed a series of agreements which include extending a $70 million grant to Egypt in addition to a soft loan of $200 million. The $70 million will be used to establish joint infrastructure projects in electricity and environment. It also includes offering 300 police cars. The soft loan is made available by the Chinese Development Bank to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Egyptian and Chinese presidents also signed several agreements to promote economic, commercial and investment cooperation as well as in the areas of tourism and environmental protection including a memorandum of understanding for the treatment of solid waste. An agreement promoting agricultural field research was also signed … //
… Egypt could offer China a market of 1.5 billion people through its various free trade area agreements with Mercosur, the EU, Turkey and Arab countries. “That advantage should not go to waste.”