文I希沙姆·阿布巴卡尔（Hisham AbuBakr Metwally） 埃及工贸部进出口政策研究中心首席经济研究员
翻译 | 齐晓彤
编辑 | 张梅
In 5th of November China opened its first major international exhibition for imports in Shanghai. Many of African countries have been given free participation for strengthening their presence in the exhibition.
The exhibition also comes at the request of many African countries seeking to more open up Chinese markets for their products.
Egypt is a guest of honor at the exhibition. Dr. Mostafa Madbouli, Egyptian Prime Minister accompanied by Eng. Amr Nassar Minister of Trade and Industry, participated in the opening of the exhibition. The Egyptian pavilion included 38 companies.
It’s expected that the exhibition offers huge opportunities for Egyptian food, agricultural, pharmaceutical, textiles and clothing products to penetrate the Chinese market. It will also provide opportunities for the Egyptian service sectors such as tourism and culture to enter the promising Chinese market.
Trade opportunities between China and Egypt
In the past five years, Egypt-China bilateral trade has witnessed a big leap where Egypt has opened up its markets to the Chinese products. In the past year, China has started to open up more its market for Egyptian products specially the agriculture sector. That gave good indication to Egypt that China really wants fair relations with Egypt. The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and China reached 11 billion dollars in 2017. China’s bilateral trade volume grew 24 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of this year to US $ 7.5 billion. Chinese exports to Egypt reached 6.5 billion US dollars in the seven months, up 22.6 percent year-on-year.China’s imports from Egypt reached US $ 1 billion, an increase of 34.1% year on year, which is a continuation of the increasing course of Egyptian exports to China. Egypt’s exports of non oil products to the Chinese market in 2017 rose to 408 million dollars compared to 255 million dollars in 2016, an increase of 60%.
Egypt exported to china Marble & travertine with $114 million 2017 while china import from that item $1.45 billion dollars which means there still big room to expand the Egyptian exports from that item.
Egypt exported also fresh Oranges with $78 million to china. Egypt exported high quality cotton with 10 million dollar to china. Egypt has a strategic location connecting the continents of Africa and Asia and being an Asian portal for the African and Arab worlds and an African portal for Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt is considered a focal point in the Belt and Road Initiative. Egypt has high Access to markets. The number of financially capable consumers is 1.2 billion who have consuming abilities where the goods and services produced in Egypt are exempted from customs and duties upon entering the European markets (European partnership), Arab countries common market, Africa (common market for east and south Africa (COMESA) and the united states of America (where most of the Egyptian products are exempted).
The number of Chinese companies working in Egypt is 1459 company.
About 68 percent of China’s investments are concentrated in industrial projects, 15 percent in finance, 9 percent in communications and information technology, 8 percent other sector that provided about 27,566 jobs.
The industrial sector is led by 764 companies and investments about 403 million dollars, followed by the service sector with total investments of 93 million dollars and 473 companies, and the construction sector comes in third place 84 million dollars and 72 companies. Investments in the telecommunications and IT sector ranked fourth with $ 14 million, 82 companies, followed by agriculture with $ 13 million and 51 companies. Tourism investments ranked sixth and final with $ 4 million and 17 companies.
Egypt seeks increase its exports to the Chinese market in the field of commodities, especially agricultural products, clothing, textiles, furniture, marble and others.
Egypt is an ancient country in agricultural production and enjoys its products of vegetables and fruits with a good international reputation. Egypt is one of the largest exporters of orange, which is distinguished by its distinctive taste and its smart aroma and rich in vitamins and so as Egyptian lemons.
Egypt is the largest exporter of dates in the world where it is distinguished by its distinctive quality. However, the volume of Egyptian exports of non-petroleum products to China is still very modest despite the recent efforts made by the governments of the two countries to support this file, but the results are still not visible.
Recently, a committee from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture visited Egypt to inspect the farms and procedures and to approve the entry of Egyptian products. However, the file is still under consideration and pending final decision, as well as Egyptian pomegranate, grapes, strawberries, potatoes, onions and garlic.
In the field of tourism, Egypt has a long history, it is the oldest civilization with one third of the world’s effects and the effects are distributed to all Egyptian cities. In addition Egypt enjoys a mild climate, wonderful beaches and famous tourist cities such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
The volume of Chinese tourists is still modest for the number of tourists coming to Egypt as well as for China’s foreign tourism, the Number of Chinese tourists has reached 500 thousand tourists in the last year, five times more than the previous 100 thousand tourists, but Egypt is expecting at least 3 million tourists annually coming from China.
The Egyptian government should make sure that the Chinese sanitary and technical requirements have been applied to all Egyptian goods so that can easily access the Chinese market. Egyptian businessmen must develop their products to take into account the consumer markets of Chinese consumers in all its layers, which requires the use of Chinese experience houses to make joint designs.
In the future, Chinese tourists can be granted access to Egypt by granting a visa at the airport with the reduction or cancellation of visa fee, with emphasis on reciprocity for the Egyptian tourist.
How Egypt can make breakthroughs in the trade with China?
Where the adoptions of Egyptian agricultural items alone can double the volume of Egyptian non-oil exports several times.
In November 2016 a protocol of cooperation between the two countries was signed to allow Egypt’s grape exports to reach China. Grapes become the second Egyptian fruit crop after citrus to enter the Chinese market. Egypt’s citrus exports to China have grown significantly over the past year from $ 23 million in 2016 to reach $ 78.3 million in 2017, an increase of 240%. More exports of Egyptian agricultural crops are expected to enter the Chinese market in the coming period, especially from dates, which are currently completing technical procedures for export from Egypt to China.
Egypt has allocated an integrated textile city to China to establish the highest quality garment factories and benefit from the Egyptian cotton of high quality and the world’s reputation for export to all countries of the world, including the Chinese market. That will be reflected positively on reducing the deficit trade between Egypt and China.
China, with its enormous potential, can contribute to Egypt’s overcoming the problem of scarcity of water for agriculture by establishing modern irrigation systems. China will also be able to contribute to the national project of Egypt by 1.5 million acres. Egypt can also follow the policy of large farms with high mechanization, which will enable it to produce crops of high quality and in large quantities to suit the large Chinese demand.
The upcoming tourism has made remarkable progress recently as China has set up a direct air route from the Chinese city of Chengdu to Cairo, which will contribute to increasing the number of Chinese tourists in the coming period.
For many decades, African exports have depended on raw materials only, but after the establishment of giant projects in infrastructure and industrial zones in many African countries in cooperation with China, the export structure of many African countries has become diversified and has added value to the national income of these countries. Taking advantage of the financing mechanisms available by China to finance investment projects in Africa, namely the China-Africa Development Fund, the China Fund for Productive Capacity Enhancement, and the soft loans provided by China to African countries to raise productive capacities. African countries should take an interest in participating in international exhibitions in China and present their products correctly and attractively to the Chinese importer’s definition and advantages. African countries should also provide appropriate logistic support from the means of transportation, storage and preservation of their products so as to reach the Chinese importer correctly and properly. Africa should lead to technical education in order to obtain advanced and distinct employment that can meet the requirements of businessmen who wish to invest and produce in Africa. Legislation and laws that encourage investment and guarantor of investor rights must be completed as soon as possible.Financial institutions in many African countries are weak and non-proliferation enough to cover the demand for investment and financial services. The sector should be given attention to ensure safe and easy access and transfer of funds.