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Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade on Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Recent acts of terrorism in Europe were high on the agenda during discussions President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held with Macron and Merkel. El Sisi told the French president that Islam is not to blame for the recent atrocities and urged him not to play into anti-relgious bigotry. In a separate call with Angela Merkel, he reiterated Egypt’s commitment to combating extremist ideologies and working collectively to fight hate speech.

The USD 350 mn Italian-Egyptian Debt for Development Swap program could be extended for a fourth time, following discussions yesterday between International Co-operation Minister Rania Al Mashat and Italian ambassador Giampaolo Cantini. The program is currently in its third stage, worth USD 100 mn. Under the program, a portion of Egypt’s debts to Italy are reallocated to developmental projects in Egypt. The program funded 88 projects in its first two stages, and is currently funding projects in food security, agriculture, civil society, the environment and heritage preservation. The program is also funding the EGP 40 mn expansion of the applied tech schools program, as well as an EGP 42 mn Human Resource Development program in Luxor.

Also on the diplomatic front, Iraq has ratified three MoUs it signed with Egypt last week during Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s recent visit to Baghdad, the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) reported. The MoUs cover cooperation on economic development, statistical reporting, training, and governance, the news outlet said without giving details. Egypt and Iraq signed 15 different MoUs during Madbouly’s visit. Both countries also agreed on a mechanism that could see Egyptian companies work on development projects in Iraq in return for importing Iraqi oil.

Turning to trade: Several Asian countries including China, and others from the GCC, are looking to double their imports of Egyptian oranges, especially the baladi variety used to make juice, Youm7 reports, quoting unnamed sources. Asia is the biggest destination for oranges shipped from Egypt, which recently became the largest exporter of the fruit in terms of volume after overtaking rivals Spain and South Africa.

This comes as Japan has just lifted a 25-year ban on citrus imports from Egypt following talks between Cairo and Tokyo that came after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Yokohama last year, the Foreign Ministry said. Japanese experts are scheduled to visit Egypt next month to examine our citrus crops and inspect the production and storage processes, the ministry added.

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