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Opinions & Interviews

4 Sep 2019

Call for dismantling trade barriers between Belarus, Egypt

Call for dismantling trade barriers between Belarus, Egypt

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) – Belarus and Egypt should remove barriers to mutual trade, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said as he met with First Undersecretary of the Trade and Industry Ministry of Egypt Ahmed Antar on 4 September, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus-Egypt trade totaled $108 million in 2018. During the visit of the Egyptian president to Belarus in June, we agreed that this is not the limit. We hope that in the coming years we will double or even triple the trade. Of course, to achieve this we should remove trade barriers that, unfortunately, still exist between our countries,” Sergei Rumas noted.

Belarus welcomes Egypt’s decision to register Belarusian cosmetics manufacturers in July 2019. At the same time, Sergei Rumas pointed out that the Belarusian steel mill BMZ has been waiting to get registered and launch export of its products to Egypt for over a year, although its documents meet all the necessary requirements.

According to the Belarusian prime minister, Belarus is keen not only to supply its products to Egypt, but also to implement long-term joint projects with Egyptian partners. “We have created and successfully operate joint enterprises which produce trucks, tractors, and agriculture equipment. We are ready to step up cooperation in manufacturing, increasing the share of local content, sharing technologies and training specialists. In this regard, I would like to ask for assistance from the Egyptian government in supporting our joint enterprises,” Sergei Rumas said. This also includes reducing duties on equipment components supplied to the joint enterprises and helping promote products in Egypt and in other markets of the region.

Belarus is among the leaders in information technology in the region and is willing to cooperate with Egypt in this area. Another important area of cooperation may be exporting Belarusian pharmaceuticals to Egypt. However, Belarusian companies have encountered difficulties in registering some types of pharmaceuticals popular in Egypt.

North Africa attracts Belarus as a promising and burgeoning market. At the same time, Belarus’ priority is enhancing cooperation with Egypt.

“Belarus and Egypt are reliable partners and I have no doubts that our cooperation has great prospects. I would like to hear your opinion about prospects of Belarus-Egypt relations. We are ready to discuss any matters which will help strengthen economic relations between the two countries,” Sergei Rumas said.

In turn, Ahmed Antar stressed that friendly relationship between the Belarusian and Egyptian heads of state guarantees that trade and economic cooperation and interaction in other areas will only intensify. The joint trade commission holds sessions more often now: in the past the sessions were annual, but now they are held twice a year thanks to the development of Belarus-Egypt relations.

Belarusian export to Egypt in the first half of 2019 amounted to $56.01 million (up 54% from the same period last year), while import equaled $18.85 million (up 1.9%). This resulted in trade surplus for Belarus totaling $37.16 million. The main exports were semi-finished products from non-alloy steel, X-ray equipment, tractors and tractor units, carboxylic acids and their derivatives, potash fertilizers, automobile and tractor parts and accessories, tires, and newsprint. Belarus imports from Egypt citruses, fresh, canned, and frozen vegetables and fruit, pharmaceuticals, clothes, and textiles.

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