Egypt and Russia to develop free trade zone

egypt-andrewshenouda-flickrAs part of the discussion between the two countries, an industrial hub could be built in Egypt. (Image source: Andrew Shenouda/Flickr) Egypt and Russia have indicated that they might develop a free trade zone in the north African country and an industrial zone in Russia

According to Russian television media RT, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, met Russian President Vladmir Putin in Moscow where the two leaders also discussed bilateral trade and investment strategies in both countries.

Rashad Abdo, head of Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies, said that the planned free trade zone would not be limited to the exchange of duty-free products alone. Instead, it would enhance and promote investments in both countries.

“We hope that Russia could establish a Russian industrial zone, coinciding with the launch of the new Suez Canal, which will be completed within a year,” president Sisi said.

The Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) stated that Russian investments in Egypt amounted to US$65.62mn in January 2013, with 383 Russian companies investing in Egypt. Meanwhile, Egyptian investments in Russia amounted to US$13.7mn in December 2012.

One of the largest Russian exports to Egypt is wheat. Putin added that Russia will increase exports to Egypt by at least five million tons. Owing to political unrest, Egypt had been experiencing a shortage in wheat for three years. However, the country is now the world’s largest importer. The Egyptian General Authority for Supply Commodities announced that the nation imported 3.3mn tons of wheat from Russia in 2014.

In return, Egypt is likely to increase shipments of agricultural products like potatoes, onions, garlic and oranges, Reuters report said.

Additionally, the two leaders discussed the possibility of setting up an Egyptian transport logistics hub on the Black Sea coast in Russia and an industrial hub in Egypt as part of the Suez Canal development project.

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