CAIRO: Syria’s ban on Egyptian exports of guava and mango has triggered a new crisis in trade relations between the two Arab countries and is expected to top the discussions of a joint committee meeting in Cairo early in September.
Saeed Abdullah, official in charge of trade agreements at the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, said Egyptian representatives at the joint-committee called for an urgent meeting to investigate the impediments facing Egyptian exports in the Syrian market, particularly exports of potatoes and fruits.
Egyptian exports to Syria recorded $197 million in 2005 against imports of $101 million.
The Egyptian official expressed surprise that Syrian authorities continue to impose a ban on potatoes and mango imports from Egypt. “Though the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture has invited Syrian officials to visit Egypt for examination of the measures implemented to fight pests, the Syrians have not removed their ban on imports to date, Abdullah said.
Egyptian mango crop has increased to 416,951 tons in 2005 from 375,461 tons in 2004 and is expected to grow by 20 percent more in 2006.
The balance of trade between Egypt and Syria has tilted in favor of the former since 2000. Egyptian trade surplus with Syria surged to $96 million in 2004 from $2 million in 2000.
Abdullah stressed that Egyptian representatives in the joint committee will urge their Syrian counterparts to curb inspection measures at their ports in order to protect exports from decay and delayed delivery. Noozz