Export councils have agreed on the importance of increasing and supporting Egyptian exports abroad, as it will lead to the launching of new export markets for Egyptian companies.
In this regard, the Egyptian Furniture Export Council (EFEC) is preparing a new strategy to double the furniture sector’s exports, according to EFEC Executive Director Yasmin Helal.
Helal said the council prepared an earlier strategy in 2010, aimed at achieving exports of approximately EGP 13bn by 2025. However, the plan needs to be reconsidered due to the economic and political changes following the 25 January Revolution.
The EFEC discussed developing furniture exports through a shipping support programme, Helal added. A new programme is also being prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade to support the participation of Egypt in foreign expos.
Magdi Tolba, a member of the Textile Export Council, further noted that increasing Egyptian exports requires reforms and procedures to be implemented under the Ministry of Industry’s supervision.
The most important of these is the removal of transport obstacles and ensuring that the risks of transferring exports are limited, as well as contributions by the state in holding exhibitions in African countries, he said.
Meanwhile, Alaa El-Bahi, head of Food Export Council (FEC), said that the most important reasons for low exports is the loss of the Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq markets, which lead to a relative decline in Egyptian exports.
El-Bahi added that Egyptian food exports to Arab countries represent 68% of food industry exports.
He expected a general increase in Egyptian exports, especially to Africa, after the activation of the tripartite agreement between the three economic blocs in Africa, which was signed last month in Sharm El-Sheikh.
On his part, head of the Engineering Export Council of Egypt (EEC), Amr Abu Frekhha, said that the council seeks to prepare an integrated plan to promote companies’ export skills and present it to the specialists.
Abu Frekhha added that the council is studying cooperation with the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council (ENCC) through a cooperation protocol to serve Egyptian exporting companies.
He pointed out that the council is seeking to increase the export culture of Egyptian companies in the coming period.
He noted that rooting this export culture is important to match the volume of imports to adjust the trade balance between exports and imports. In addition, expansion and development in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the engineering sector is a key element in increasing exports and facilitating economic development.
The coordinating council of export councils held a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour, to discuss proposals submitted by the export councils.
The proposals tackled issues affecting commodity exports during the recent period towards developing a set of recommendations to be submitted to the minister.
Total Egyptian exports amounted to $8bn in May 2015, compared to $10bn in the same period last year, with a decrease of 20%, according to a report by the General Organization for Exports Imports and Control (GOEIC).
In June, the Ministerial Economic Committee agreed to increase the amount allocated to supporting Egyptian exports from EGP 2.6bn to EGP 5bn in the new state budget, representing an increase rate of 92%.