CAIRO: Turkish and Egyptian officials met on Monday afternoon as part of an effort to boost economic cooperation, including trade and investment, between the two countries.
Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid and Turkish Minister of State for Foreign Trade Zafer Çaglayan gathered for the additional purpose of kicking off the International Business Forum, held in Cairo, for which Minister Çaglayan brought between 300 and 500 businessmen to attend.
“Not only has bilateral trade increased, but the FTA has facilitated an increase in industrial investment between Egypt and Turkey, said Rachid.
Rachid promised that he would work to insure the conference supported “providing economic and trade growth for countries that are members.
The two ministers repeatedly framed their comments about boosting economic cooperation by talking about the need for greater trade generally among Islamic nations.
They said that the Cairo Chamber of Commerce and Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MÜSIAD) have been the leading forces behind boosting bilateral trade.
As part of the work between these two organizations, an Egyptian trade delegation will be heading to Turkey in the second half of November.
Turkey, which has been rebuffed in its efforts to join the European Union, seem to be looking more and more to the east.
“We need to be a stronger economic bloc as Islamic countries, said Çaglayan, adding that Muslim countries should be working to remove tariffs imposed on goods from other Muslim countries.
Trade between on Turkey and Egypt is on a steep upward trajectory. According to Çaglayan, trade volume has increased 150 percent since 2007. Trade for the first eight months of 2009, he said, exceeded total trade for all of 2008.
Total trade between the two countries came to $2.37 billion in 2008. By August of 2009, trade had already hit $2.4 billion for the year.
Çaglayan went on to note that there is $1.5 billion in Turkish investment in Egypt. Around 50,000 Egyptians currently work in Turkish factories.
The goal, said Çaglayan, was to forge such a strong trade relationship between the two countries that they could then launch joint ventures elsewhere, especially in Africa.
While busy with the Turkish delegation, the Ministry of Trade and Industry also made news on the agricultural front.
It said on Tuesday it will hold monthly tenders to grant rice export licenses to traders and will reconsider the value of the country s rice export tariff.
The minister will set the rules to regulate the new system that will include how to apply for these tenders and which authority will supervise them, a ministry statement said.
The ministry also said it will announce a tender next week to export 100,000 tons of rice for shipment during December. -Additional reporting by Reuters.