Egyptian and Israeli officials have met to expand trade and economic cooperation between the two countries with the aim of increasing export capacity amid the war crisis in Ukraine that has hit Egypt hard, official sources said Thursday.
"The meeting addressed ways to enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries under the joint protocol on qualified industrial areas (QIZ) in order to increase export capacity during the next phase, especially in light of overcoming the repercussions of the current global conditions," according to a statement released today by the Egyptian Ministry of Industry.
Minister of Economic Planning Hala al Said and Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Nevin Gamea met with Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai, who is on a visit to Cairo, where they also discussed "the frameworks of cooperation between the two countries to activate trade and investment potential," the statement said.
For his part, Barbivai noted that these actions set the goal of doubling bilateral trade to around $700 million within three years and affirmed that the Jewish state's "duty" is to "significantly facilitate the conduct of business to enable this", according to a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Economy.
The Foreign Trade Administration of the Ministry of Economy and Industry explains that the QIZ agreement, signed between Israel and Egypt in 2004, grants a customs exemption on entering the US market for Egyptian products manufactured in defined industrial areas in cooperation with Israeli industrialists.
Companies in the 14 QIZ areas operating in Alexandria, Port Said and Upper Egypt export to the US market on a duty-free basis to the tune of around one billion dollars a year.
The volume of trade between Israel and Egypt in 2021 was about $330m, an increase of 63% compared to the previous year, according to data provided by the Israeli ministry.
The economic crisis in Egypt has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, forcing the Egyptian government to veto the export of many products, including wheat, at a time when prices have risen sharply in the country following a drop of almost 15% in the local currency against the dollar.