By Abdel Qader Ramadan
More than fifty Egyptian companies working in the fields of industry, engineering, metals, yarn, textiles, and products from vendors in Cairo’s famous Khan El-Khalili market participated in the tenth session of the Egyptian Products Exhibition in Amman, Jordan held on 22-25 May.
Companies participating in the exhibition were seeking to open a new market through partnerships with Jordanian companies or entering into agreements with agencies to market their products in Jordan. Vast opportunities exist for Egyptian products in light of the conflict in Syria, which was previously a major supplier to Jordan.
Business sector companies in the chemical and food industries had a striking presence at the exhibition, as well as small furniture, garment and leather goods companies that seek to sell directly to the public.
The exhibition was well-attended as it coincided with official holidays. There was fear that the visit of Pope Francis I of the Vatican last Saturday would cause congestion in the kingdom.
Issa Haidar Murad, chairman of the Amman Chamber of Commerce, said on the sidelines of a meeting of the chamber’s board of directors with Egyptian exhibitors, that the chamber requested the Egyptian Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade to provide Jordan’s needs for various goods.
“We have asked Egypt also to provide various agricultural products, supply commodities, and fruits in order to compensate for the shortfall that Jordan witnessed in these categories following the deterioration of commercial traffic with Syria, which was previously a major supplier to Jordan. Syrian imports to Jordan were once worth up to half a billion dinars annually,” Murad added in a special statement on Thursday.
According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, Egyptian exports to the Jordanian market last year jumped to approximately EGP 4.2bn from 3.2bn, a growth rate of 34%, whereas Egyptian imports from Jordan amount to approximately EGP 879m, according to figures from 2013, down EGP 3m from 2012.
During the Chamber of Commerce meeting with Egyptian companies, participants emphasised a strong desire to increase the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Jordan, especially in light of the two countries’ proximity. Flights from Cairo to Amman often take about an hour , and there is no visa required for Egyptians to enter Jordan.
Murad added that the chamber plans to visit Egypt in the near future before the month of Ramadan in order to discuss mechanisms to increase trade between the two countries. The Jordanian market currently suffers a shortage in various food supplies and goods, and Egypt has been granted a chance to break into the Jordanian market in the coming months.
Ghassan Kharfan, vice chairman of the chamber, said during the meeting that Egypt has the opportunity to export to the Gulf States, Syria and Iraq through Jordan, as the country may serve as a hub for connecting Egypt to these countries.
Zakaria Husseiny, general manager of First Aromatic, a participating company in the exhibition working in flavouring, scent, and foodstuffs, and a subsidiary of Al-Mokadem, said that the company is searching for an agent in the Jordanian market. This comes within the company’s plan to expand exports after achieving good success rates in the Egyptian market. First Aromatic has acquired approximately 23% of the market amidst tough competition with international companies working in the field.
Hany Abed Rabbo, sales manager of Maadi Advanced Industries, said that his company, which manufactures air conditioning components and accessories, used to export to Libya. However, the turmoil experienced by the country has caused export operations to be suspended, and Rabbo pointed out that the company is seeking to enter into an agreement with an agent to sell their products in the Jordanian market.