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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

No further import restrictions – Kabil

The Trade Ministry has no plan to further restrict imports, Minister Tarek Kabil told Al Mal in an interview. Measures such as the Importers Registry Act had sought to curb imports as a means of restricting the outflow of FX. The government will instead focus on encouraging exports, which grew by 8% y-o-y in 8M2017 at the same time as imports fell 29.5%. Kabil expects exports revenues to reach USD 22-23 bn by year’s end, up from USD 20 bn last year, driven by a USD 2-3 bn increase in non-oil exports. He added that the ministry is in negotiations with the African Export-Import Bank and the Saudi Development Bank for export credit guarantees.

On legislation, an amended Export Development Act is now before the House of Representatives, Kabil said. The bill is expected to allow accredited export councils to establish marketing companies, hold exhibitions, and set up logistics zones, Kabil said.

Kabil hinted that negotiations over the establishment of a Russian industrial zonewere “bumpy,” as Moscow is insisting on preferential terms that just don’t work for Egypt. Russia had abruptly postponed talks over the industrial zone to next year. The minister meanwhile denied Egypt was in talks with the US for a freetrade agreement.

One more thing that caught our eye: Talks on restarting operations at White Walker Auto (a.k.a. The zombieco that is Al-Nasr Automotive) are apparently back on track, and the company is in talks with potential foreign partners, the minister said.

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