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Sunday, 05 April 2020

Egypt MPs ask government to cancel 2005 free trade agreement with Turkey

MPs said the agreement should be canceled to protect the local market from harmful Turkish dumping practices

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 26 Jan 2020
parliament
File photo of Egypt's parliament (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's MPs teamed up during a meeting held by parliament’s industrial committee on Sunday morning to ask the government to cancel a free trade agreement that was signed with Turkey in 2005.

Farag Amer, the head of the industry committee, said the agreement has done a lot of harm to Egyptian industry and products.

“The Turks used the agreement to flood the local market with a lot of cheap and substandard products,” said Amer.

Amer indicated that the committee has repeatedly asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to cancel the agreement with Turkey because it has done much harm to many Egyptian industries in the last two years.

“The Turkish side has clearly been exploiting this agreement to flood the local market with substandard products that cause a lot of harm to counterpart local industries, particularly in the areas of reinforced steel, wood, paper, and textile products,” said Amer.

“These harmful practices should force the Ministry of Industry and Trade to revoke the 2005’s free trade agreement between Egypt and Turkey and lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation in this respect.”

Amer said that Turkey’s hostile policies towards Egypt in recent years should be another reason for the government to sever the 2005 free trade agreement.

Mohamed El-Ghoul, an Upper Egypt MP, said the agreement allows Turkish products to enter the local market free from custom duties or tax fees.

“The free trade agreement between Egypt and Turkey was signed in 2005, but it came into effect when the Muslim Brotherhood reached power in 2013,” said El-Ghoul, indicating that “while Egypt imported EGP 4.6 billion worth of Turkish products in 2018, Turkey imported just EGP 1.1 billion worth of Egyptian products, and this shows that this agreement primarily serves the Turkish side.”

According to El-Ghoul, the agreement states that beginning January 2020, Turkish products will be allowed to enter the Egyptian market without custom duties.

“But Turkish products have already been entering the Egyptian market without custom duties since 2018 in a way that has done a lot of harm to the local market and despite Turkey’s aggressive attitudes towards Egypt,” said El-Ghoul, accusing a number of Egyptian local importers who have a lot of business with Turkey of manipulating the agreement in their favour and at the expense of local products.”

El-Ghoul said that substandard Turkish imports have done much harm to Egypt’s wood industry.

“For example, a fibre board wood factory in the Upper Egypt governorate of Qena is on the verge of collapse because of dumping practices by Turkey and China,” said El-Ghoul, urging the government to follow the example of the United States, which has imposed high tariffs between 10 to 25 percent on Chinese aluminium imports that did harm to American products.

Ibrahim El-Sigini, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s commercial deals department, said the government is ready to impose protection fees on Turkish products once local producers file complaints corroborated with all the documents proving that Turkey is exercising illegal dumping practices that have done them harm.

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