Egyptian-British relations are intensively active on the political, economic, cultural, and religious levels which were reflected in the frequent mutual visits and the permanent communication between the foreign ministers of both countries during which issues of mutual interest were addressed.
Egypt and Britain have convergent views on several regional and international issues of common concern. They are strengthening the mechanisms of consultation and coordination in tackling regional crises and ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.
Daily News Egypt sheds light on several aspects of cooperation with the UK, including political, economic, touristic, and cultural areas.
Trade and investment relations
Gamal Bayoumi, secretary-general of the Arab Investors Union and former head of the European Department at the ministry of international cooperation, said that the relationship with Britain is deeply rooted and diversified, noting, “We were once occupied by Britain, then since 1980s, relations have thrived.”
Bayoumi told Daily News Egypt that he met with the British ambassador to Egypt, Sir Geoffrey Adams, last Thursday who affirmed that Egypt is a key trade partner for Britain.
Britain seeks to sign a new trade agreement with Egypt following the Brexit, Bayomi added, expecting trade ties to remain sturdy after the Brexit and the signing of new separate trade agreements.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, said that trade exchange between Egypt and Britain recorded $1.33bn during the first half of 2018, and £1.86bn (about $2.42bn) in 2017.
Egyptian ambassador to the UK, Tarek Adel, stated in November that more than 350,000 British tourists visited Egypt during the period from January to October 2018-despite the UK flight ban to Sharm El-Sheikh-up from 300,000 tourists in 2017.
British investments in Egypt are very large, mainly in the oil and gas sector, Rakha Ahmed, former assistant to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, said, noting that British investments in Egypt increased significantly over the last years.
“Britain is a very strategic trade partner for Egypt. It is still part from the European Union till now,” Ahmed declared.
Several Egyptians receive scholarships annually from British universities, Ahmed said.
However, Britain has not lifted its travel ban to Sharm El-Sheikh since November 2015, while many countries resumed their flights to the Red Sea city. “I call on the British government to resume its direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh,” Ahmed declared.
Additionally, Ahmed said that military cooperation with Britain is at its highest level, adding, “there are joint military exercises between both countries.”
On 25 March, the UK and Egypt have successfully concluded joint military training, titled ‘Ahmose.’ The training was the first exercise between the two countries in 30 years, and saw the participation of 165 UK military personnel, including female soldiers.
Through the ‘Ahmose’ drills, which were held at the Mohamed Naguib Military Base in Alexandria, Egypt and the UK exchanged their military experiences, according to the British embassy in Egypt during a previous statement.
The exercise included realistic scenarios in which troops developed essential skills across a range of areas, including marksmanship, first aid, and counter-improvised electronic device training, noted the statement.
Last year, the British and Egyptian ministries of defence signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct joint military exercises as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen their counter-terrorism cooperation. The UK has also joined forces with Egypt, the United States, and other countries in the ‘Bright Star’ military exercises.