Hurdles lifted for products to Egypt
Hurdles to access the Egyptian market will be removed within one month, according to a delegation of businesspeople that attended the Lebanese Egyptian Economic Forum in Cairo last week. Exports to Egypt were not halted completely but were facing difficulties to access the market. This is due to changes being made to country of origin certificates and unified standard specifications.
“This administrative procedure was an obstacle, but it is almost over,” said Hicham al Moukammal, Chairman of the Lebanese Egyptian Businessmen Association. Egyptians were also suffering from an ongoing currency exchange problem. Medicines suffered most from this certification issue.
The value of exports to Egypt reached $57 million by the end of August. “Our best year was 2010, when our export value reached $176 million a year,” said al Moukammal. In 2013 and 2014, exports were valued at $73 million and $84 million, respectively. Importers in Egypt had difficulties paying in foreign currency due to a financial crisis in their market. The value of the Egyptian pound fell to the dollar and euro by about 15 percent last year.
Imports from Egypt were valued at $281 million until the end of August. In 2013 and 2014, imports reached $644 million and $529 million, respectively. Imports are expected to increase because of the depreciation of the Egyptian pound, according to al Moukammal.
Lebanon exports jewelry, medicine, and agricultural products to Egypt. The local hospitality, tourism and franchise industries have also been extremely active in Egypt, according to al Moukammal. “We encourage [Lebanese] industrialists to access this market because there is plenty of room for competition,” he said.
An Egyptian business delegation will visit the country next month to discuss means to further ease trade between the two countries.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Nov 19, 2015