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21/12/2017 - 18:07hs

Latin America a priority for Egypt, says minister

The Arab country’s Trade and Industry minister Tarek Kabil attended the 51st meeting of heads of state from the South American bloc this Thursday in Brasília.


Kabil is looking to even out Mercosur-Egypt trade

São Paulo – Egypt’s minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil attended the 51st Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States this Thursday (21) in Brasília (DF). At the invitation of Brazil’s president Michel Temer, the Egyptian minister discussed aspects of Egypt-Mercosur trade. Temer passed on the presidency of the South American bloc to Paraguay president Horacio Cartes.

Kabil said Latin America and the Caribbean are priorities for Egypt in political and economic terms. Within this context, the Mercosur stands apart, according to the minister.

According to Kabil, Egypt-Mercosur bilateral trade amounted to roughly USD 4.5 billion in 2016. “This is a good foundation on which for us to carry out our bilateral work. However, trade is very unfavorable to Egypt. We hope that the bilateral agreement will help in changing that,” he said, in reference of the Egypt-Mercosur free-trade agreement that has recently become effective.

On Tuesday (19), at a meeting with Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce C-level executives, the Egyptian minister had stressed the need to balance out trade, and mentioned some of the items that Egypt would like to sell to Brazil. He also called for faster implementation of tax breaks provided for in the agreement.

In his address during the Mercosur Summit, Kabil mentioned numbers showing that Egypt’s economy is recovering. According to him, GDP was up 4.3% last year and should widen by 5% this year, while US dollar reserves remain strong in the wake of the move to float the exchange rate, which led to depreciation of Egypt’s pound. Unemployment has dropped.

He also mentioned the loan agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year. On Wednesday (20), the Fund cleared a new USD 2 billion tranche in a USD 12 billion loan that was agreed upon in November 2016, which goes to show that the Egyptian government is meeting the IMF’s expectations.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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