Egypt's Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar has said that Egyptian exports witnessed large growth during 2018, totaling $22.6 billion compared to $20.4 billion in 2017.
The minister said that exports are expected to reach about $25 billion by the end of 2018, an increase of about 10.6 percent from 2017.
The increase in export rates is a reflection of the ambitious strategy of the Ministry of Trade and Industry aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the Egyptian industry and opening more markets to Egyptian products.
Nassar pointed out that the year 2019 will be a key pillar in the implementation of the ministry's plan to expand export markets, especially in view of the positive developments in the negotiations of both the African Free Trade Agreement, which includes 55 countries, and the Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
He pointed out that the entry into force of these agreements will contribute to the opening of the markets of 60 new countries to Egyptian products, in addition to the current trade agreements with that provide Egyptian products with preferential advantages.
Nassar added that the increase in the import rates during 2018 resulted from demand for production and strategic goods.
The sectors that achieved an increase in exports during 2018 included the chemical industry, fertilisers, ready-made garments, engineering, electronics, medical, textile, food industries, and books.
Nassar stressed that the largest markets receiving Egyptian exports during 2018 were in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the USA, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Algeria and France.
Nassar explained that the ministry has adopted an ambitious strategy to develop Egyptian exports to foreign markets, especially in Africa as one of the promising markets where Egypt can achieve significant trade levels.
The minister stressed that the strategy is based on achieving partnership and integration with African countries through enhancing industrial and investment cooperation.
Nassar said that the ministry has identified 12 markets in east and west Africa with whom to develop joint economic cooperation and help them realise their ambitions to build a manufacturing base with Egyptian expertise.