Egypt - Ahmed Zaki, Secretary-General of the Exporters Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, has urged for a comprehensive review and stocktaking of Egyptian exports. His proposal includes a strategic focus on augmenting the exports of products that are highly sought after in international markets. Additionally, he advocates for robust support for exporters and the exploration of new markets with a growing appetite for Egyptian goods.

Zaki has also proposed initiatives to enhance the value-added aspect of agricultural commodities, aiming to maximize the benefits derived from agricultural yields, boost the earnings from their export, and stimulate the establishment of new manufacturing facilities.

A key aspect of his recommendation is to grant exporters a complete tax exemption for two years, alongside relief from any duties that impede the export process. This measure is intended to bolster competitiveness and provide exporters with compensation through a tiered system based on export volumes, ensuring that a share of the proceeds is directed towards banks rather than informal markets.

Zaki underscores the significance of foreign trade as a barometer for a country’s economic progress and as a reflection of its production capabilities.

He notes that the Egyptian economy’s development in recent years is evident in the reduction of the trade balance deficit. This progress aligns with the Egyptian government’s efforts since 2015 to invigorate exports and curtail the trade balance deficit.

The strategy formulated and executed by the Egyptian government encompasses addressing numerous hurdles that the export sector faces, particularly the acquisition of production inputs, which are often imported and subject to delays due to funding and customs clearance issues.

Zaki calls for the simplification and acceleration of processes related to the disbursement of support for the shipment of exported goods, advocating for immediate allocation upon export. This approach would enable producers to lower product costs and enhance their competitiveness in global markets.

He reveals that factory owners and businesses encounter difficulties in participating in international exhibitions due to the exorbitant costs involved.

Zaki attributes the trade balance improvement to the Egyptian government’s policy, initiated in 2015, aimed at diminishing the trade deficit by regulating imports and fostering export growth. The trade balance deficit peaked in 2015 at $53bn but saw a notable reduction to $36.9bn last year, down from $48.06bn in 2022.

He highlights Egypt’s ambition to elevate its total exports to $145bn by 2030, as outlined by the Egyptian Cabinet. This goal is part of a broader plan to amplify foreign exchange revenues to a cumulative $300bn.

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