Egyptian and Belarusian trade officials discussed on Thursday economic cooperation and investment opportunities between the two countries during the first meeting of a newly formed joint business council.
Trade volume between the two countries stood at $130 million from January to November 2019, Egyptian Trade Minister Nevine Gamea said in a statement on Thursday. Joint trade mainly includes electronics, textiles, ready-made clothes, chemicals and fertilisers, she added.
The Egyptian minister invited Belarusian companies to invest in an economic zone Egypt is building around the Suez Canal, as well as in new cities the country is building and in road and railway projects, the ministry said in a statement. It cited the minister as saying that the two countries have promising mutual investment opportunities to export to African countries.
During the meeting, headed by Gamea and Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Koltovich, the two countries signed 12 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) including an agreement on the work strategy of the Egyptian-Belarusian business council.
The agreements also included a cooperation agreement between Egypt's Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (AOI) and the National Belarusian Academy of Sciences, as well as a roadmap for cooperation between Egypt's Ministry of Military Production and the Minsk Tractor Works company.
The meeting in Cairo and a business forum attended by Belarusian company executives came on the sidelines of a visit by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenkoby and an accompanying delegation.
The Egyptian minister said the Egyptian-Belarusian business council is aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two countries, adding that Belarus is one of Egypt's key partners in the Eurasian Economic Union.
The two nations recently opened a number of projects in the fields of assembly and manufacturing of trucks, tractors, engines and cadres.
The minister stressed Egypt's recent efforts to eliminate obstacles facing investors, urging both sides to work increase mutual investments in the near future.
The minister quoted Belarusian Minister Koltovich as saying that his country is looking to increase its imports from Egypt, and to further its cooperation with Egypt in the tourism sector.
On Wednesday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met in Cairo to discuss cooperation in agriculture, technology and security.
Following their meeting, President El-Sisi announced the creation of the joint business council between the two countries.
Earlier on Thursday, President El-Sisi took his Belarusian counterpart on a tour in Egypt's New Administrative Capital, which is currently under construction east of Cairo.