Egyptian exports within the framework of the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) agreement reached $752.7m last year.
Ashraf El Rabiey, QIZ unit head at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said that QIZ exports rose by 1.5% from 2016, with exports of $741.7m, up by $11m.
He added that the unit seeks to increase exports in many industrial sectors, such as footwear, as well as garments and furniture, which hold the largest proportion.
He pointed out that exports of garments and furniture accounted for 97% of Egypt’s total exports within the QIZ agreement during 2017.
According to the QIZ unit, total Egyptian exports under the agreement reached $8.97bn in the period from 2005 to the end of 2016, with $8.927bn worth of exports of textiles and garments, and $43m of food industries. The number of factories eligible for export under the QIZ is 966, of which 18 are in Beni Suef and 16 are in Minya, next to 236 in Alexandria.
Mohsen Marzouk, chairperson of Marzouk Garments and Textiles, said QIZs’ export value in 2017 was due to increased production costs and weak sales in the local market, as well as the competitive advantage of Egyptian products after the liberalisation of the exchange rate.
He predicted that companies would increase their exports during the current year, if local consumers do not absorb the price hikes. He said that his company’s exports within the QIZ amounted to $500,000 last year, an increase of 20% over 2016, as the company exports about 30% of its total production capacity to the US market.
In 2004, Egypt signed the QIZ agreement with the United States and Israel, under which Egyptian products and goods are exported to America without customs, provided that the Egyptian factories that enter the agreement import 11.5% of production inputs from Israel, as in the original agreement in 2005, which was then cut to 10.5% in 2007.
The Egyptian government is seeking to reduce the Israeli component from 10.5% to 8.5% through negotiations with the Israeli side.