Egypt’s exports to the US increased by 31 percent in 2019 to reach $2.1 billion, up from $1.6 billion in 2018, Minister of Trade and Industry Niven Gamea has revealed.
Gamea made her comments during a panel organised by the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) Unit held Thursday on the occasion of the engagement of 34 new companies to the QIZ agreement.
Gamea added that the ministry is keen on increasing Egyptian exports to the US market, which is one of the most important markets that receives Egyptian products globally, stating out that the ministry supports all exporters to tap both preferential and free trade agreements signed between Egypt and other markets and global economic blocs.
“The Covid-19 outbreak represents a significant challenge to Egyptian exports to access external markets, including the US market. Yet, such challenges create real opportunities for Egyptian export companies, especially with the competitive advantages that Egyptian products enjoy and that are favourites to American consumers,” said Gamea.
Head of the QIZ Unit Ashraf El-Rabie revealed that the 34 newly engaged companies’ investments amount to EGP 1 billion, including foreign direct investment operating in the Egyptian market from India, China, Lebanon and Turkey, in addition to a number of joint Egyptian-foreign investments.
These companies work in the garments, textiles, food and leather products sectors, according to El-Rabie.
He disclosed that Egypt’s exports to the US market under the QIZ agreement recorded $12 billion from 2005 to 2019 and that Egypt ranks 20th among the largest exporter countries to the US in the ready-garments sector, with total exports worth $1.15 billion in 2019, adding that ready-garments and textiles exports account for 98 percent of total exports headed from QIZ zones.
The QIZ concept was introduced by the US in 1996 with the aim of reinforcing peace in the Middle East through regional economic partnerships that benefit both Arab countries and Israel.
In 2004, the Egyptian government signed the QIZ Protocol with the US and Israel that allows for duty-free entry into the US for products manufactured by qualified companies operating within designated geographic locations in Egypt and which satisfy the currently agreed upon Israeli content of 10.5 percent.