Egypt's Trade and Industry Minister Niveen Gamea has stressed to Japanese Ambassador to Cairo Noki Masaki the importance of the participation of Japan's auto industry sector in Egypt's current approach that aims to expand the use of natural gas vehicles.
Gamea met with Masaki in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss ways to enhance trade relations between both countries, especially in the field of small and medium sized enterprises, a statement by the ministry said.
"Egypt is seeking to deepen and localise the auto industry and tap into Japanese expertise and technologies in this regard since Japanese products are highly-trusted by Egyptian citizens," the statement quoted Gamea as saying during the meeting.
The Egyptian government has been pushing for the use of natural-gas powered vehicles recently, given that it is a source of energy that has become plentiful in Egypt due to the latest related discoveries.
Egypt’s strategy aims to reduce fuel imports, lower pollution from harmful emissions, ensure the safety of drivers and passengers, and tap into unexploited auto factories, according to the Egyptian government.
The plan is centred on scraping 20-year-old cars — which are altogether powered by gasoline — in return for offering new natural gas cars for their owners. Owners of new vehicles running on gasoline have also been encouraged to shift their engines to bi-fuel powered models that use both gasoline and natural gas.
During Tuesday's meeting, Gamea said the government is keen to attract more Japanese companies into the Egyptian market, especially auto manufacturing companies, to establish Egypt as one of the most important investment destinations in the Middle East and Africa.
According to the statement, Egyptian exports to Japan increased by 76 percent from January to May this year, attaining $176 million, up from $100 million in the same period last year, while Japanese imports increased by 18 percent during the same period, achieving $433 million, compared to $375 million last year.
Egypt exports carpets, ready-made clothes, electrical devices, and dried agricultural crops. Japanese imports include cars, electrical devices, plastics, and others.