Through its foreign offices in 46 countries, the Egyptian Commercial Service (ECS) aims to increase Egypt’s non-petroleum exports by 10% as part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s strategy to promote industrial development and foreign trade of Egypt until 2020, according to Ahmed Antar head of the ECS.
Antar told Daily News Egypt that the ECS is currently focusing on the implementation of the mentioned strategy for the markets of different countries, pointing out that the ECS is present in 11 trade offices in African countries, after the opening of five new offices last year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade aims to increase non-oil exports through trade offices and export councils, especially following the liberalisation of the pound exchange rate in November.
According to the ministry’s statistics, exports amounted to $7.438bn in the period from January to the end of April, compared to $6.545bn during the same period of 2016, an increase of 14%.
Antar pointed out that the ECS strongly intends to open up trade and economic relations with African countries. In 2016, the ECS opened five offices in African countries: Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, Tanzania, and Djibouti, based on the great attention paid by the Egyptian government to the continent.
ECS’ offices abroad have also been restructured during the last period, and nine offices have been shut down in Portugal, Chicago, USA, Denmark, Australia, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as directed by Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil.
Antar noted that the restructuring is done does not cost any additional financial burdens on the state.
He added that during the fiscal year (FY) 2015/16, the ECS contributed to the conclusion of export contracts worth EGP 7.4bn, helping Egyptian companies participate in 231 exhibitions and international trade events, providing more than 1,000 export opportunities to Egyptian companies producing and exporting various products. Furthermore, promoting more than 2,600 Egyptian companies in foreign markets, and the intervention to settle more than 1,200 trade disputes between Egyptian and foreign companies, as well as providing more than 300 investment opportunities.
“The ECS is currently seeking to study how to create new and unconventional opportunities for Egyptian products in the markets that joined the Mercosur Agreement, especially after the ratification by the Argentinean state of this agreement. The agreement includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and it is one of the most important economic blocs in the world and ranks fourth in economic importance after the European Union, NAFTA, and ASEAN,” said Antar.