$18bn decrease in trade deficit within 18 months, intention to reduce by 50% by 2020

Shaimaa Al-Aees
4 Min Read

Ministry of Trade and Industry has managed to reduce the trade deficit by $18bn within 18 months, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil.

Kabil said that the ministry aims to decrease the deficit by 50% by 2020.

Kabil added that 1,247 new factories were opened and 1,407 approvals were granted for new investment expansions, and 3,536 new projects were approved.

Kabil noted that his ministry is taking a steady and balanced step to implement the strategy of boosting industrial development and foreign trade, the “2020 Strategy”, which is in line with the Egyptian government’s strategy for achieving sustainable development by 2030.

This came during his meeting with Moody’s delegation in Egypt to review Egypt’s economic situation and the impact of the economic reforms currently being implemented by the Egyptian government on the global rating of the Egyptian economy.

The minister pointed out that the ministry is linked to a huge network of free trade agreements with a large number of major economic blocs in the world, which contributes to facilitating the entry of Egyptian exports to global markets. Furthermore, a direct shipping line was launched between Egypt and Kenya to enhance the terms of trade between Egypt and the African countries.

The ministry’s strategy is based on five main axes: industrial development, export development, small and medium enterprise development, technical and vocational education and training, and government standards and institutional development.

“The strategy aims at creating a business climate that will attract more investment in the country, making industrial sectors to become the growth engine of the Egyptian economy, increasing the rate of industrial growth to 8% annually, and raising the rate of growth of exports to 10% annually,” the minister added. “In addition to that, the ministry aims at increasing the proportion of the contribution of industrial production to GDP to constitute a total of 17.7% to 21%, as well as providing 3 million jobs and increasing the rate of investment in the industrial sector.”

Kabil noted that the ministry has offered a package of legislative reforms related to the allocation of land and the identification of one authority for supervision and the issuance of the Industrial Licensing Law, which contributes to facilitating and automating the procedures and reducing the period of licensing from 634 days to less than one month.

The minister added that the ministry has set up a new entity to support small and medium enterprises and activate its funding and training system. He pointed out that funding of EGP 6.9bn has been provided to 344,000 small and micro enterprises that have provided 458,000 jobs since the beginning of 2016.

Furthermore, the government is currently implementing the “EGY-Trade programme – Egyptian Trade Facilitation Network”, which aims to facilitate the procedures and trade exchange between Egypt and various trading partners in cooperation between the ministries of trade and industry, finance, and transport.

The new investment law includes a large number of incentives and investment guarantees to attract more foreign investment to the Egyptian market and protect the rights of foreign investors and Egyptians alike, according to the minister.

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