On the second day of his European visit, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry asserted Egypt’s keenness to join a free-trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union during a meeting with Belarusian Minister of Trade Vladimir Koltovich.
Shoukry cited President Alexander Lukashenko’s business-oriented visit to Egypt last January as an example to strengthen the trade relaxations between the two countries, “considering Egypt is the main economic partner to Belarus.”
Belarusian news agency Belarus News reported that Lukashenko assured Shoukry that his country will fulfill agreements signed in January 2017, which includes 45 projects. The news agency reported that Lukashenko invited President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to visit “Belarus at any convenient time.”
Between January and April 2017, the trade between the two countries doubled. Belarus exports to Egypt metal products, tractors, X-ray equipment, oil products, dairy products, vehicle parts and accessories, and bearings.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid said that the meeting mentioned that the two sides will follow up and aim to fulfill precious agreements, in order to support Belarusian investments in Egypt which accounts for $1.3bn in many fields, such as agriculture, industry, and tourism.
Last May, Belarus said that it aims to construct a 1,000-head commercial dairy farm in Egypt, according to Aleksei Bogdanov, the head of the main division for foreign economic affairs at the Agriculture and Food Ministry of Belarus. At the time, the official said that it is planned to spend experts test the soil and to see what proper equipment is needed.
Earlier on Monday Shoukry discussed with his Belarusian counterpart, Vladimir MacKay, cases and files of common interests, such as the crisis the Middle East and Egypt’s efforts to confront terrorism.
The two sides also discussed the Qatari crisis, the statement read. Shoukry told his counterpart that the anti-terrorism Arab quartet are keen to convince Qatar to stop supporting terrorist groups.
Similarly, MacKay briefed Shoukry on Belarus’ efforts to contain the Ukrainian crisis.
In January 2017, Lukashenko visited Egypt and met with Al-Sisi. The two presidents signed nine cooperation agreements in the fields of environment, water resources, agriculture, and sports.
They also included a cooperation agreement on military techniques and production, an agreement to transfer convicts, and a joint plan for economic, social, and cultural exchange.
Last July, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Belarus is increasing its trade with Egypt and considering setting up new joint ventures. It added that Minister Tarek Kabil met with a delegation of Belarusian businesspeople to discuss further cooperation.
In May 2017, the countries signed the first contract to supply Belarusian rye flour to Egypt. Negotiations are underway on supplies of poultry meat, beef, pasta, and canned vegetables
The countries are working to develop the legal framework of cooperation in investment. Plans have also been made to hold talks on the project to build a wastewater treatment facility using Belarusian technologies in Egypt.