Hatem Saleh, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, said that he will visit Libya in the first half of September as a part of a delegation that will include a number of Egyptian factory and business owners, representatives of the ministry, and other interested ministries. The delegation will look into the needs of the Libyan market and look into contributing to rebuilding the country.
Saleh said that he discussed the possibility of recovering the assets of Egyptian companies in Libya’s various economic sectors with the Libyan Minister of Economy, Ahmed Al-Koshly. He noted that a number of Egyptian assets were damaged during Libya’s civil war and that damages were yet to be recovered. The total value of the damaged assets reaches EGP 677 million from the construction, land reclamation, electricity, petroleum, health, medical tourism, and maritime services sectors, in addition to a number of institutions owned by the Ministry of Manpower.
The Libyan Minister of Economy said that the Ministries of Finance in Libya and Egypt undertook a study to determine what each company is owed in Libya’s outstanding payments. He expressed Libya’s eagerness to pay the Egyptian companies what they are owed, particularly because officials in both countries are keen on strengthening co-operation moving forward.
The meeting between Saleh and Al-Koshly included a discussion of increasing trade between the two countries by removing all obstacles that currently hinder business. The two officials also discussed implementing a unified customs plan, taking advantage of an agreement for industrial integration, and the possibility of building an industrial area on the border of the two countries to include cement, steel, and aluminium industries.
The two ministers also discussed re-forming a joint Egyptian Libyan business council and to put an agreement into effect for mutual recognition of standards certificates in order to facilitate the movement of goods and people between the two countries.
Salah added that the Egyptian and Libyan Ministries of Foreign Affairs are looking into cancelling travel visas to encourage the movement of goods, individuals, and investments.
He pointed out that Libyan and Egyptian officials are eager to increase the volume of trade between the two countries, particularly in light of the recent decrease in business between Egypt and Libya. Trade between the two countries between January and April 2012 equalled $467 million, compared to $586 million in the same period of 2010. The most significant Egyptian exports to Libya are dairy products, oils, juices, jams and jellies, household appliances, construction materials, metals, medications, and furniture. Egypt imports propylene, butane gas, steel and iron products, polyethylene, and methanol.