JETRO, GAFI to or­gan­ise pro­mo­tional in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in Europe


The Daily News Egypt - - Business - By Ha­gar Omran

Takashi Tsunemi, manag­ing di­rec­tor of the Ja­pan Ex­ter­nal Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (JETRO) in Egypt, said that his or­gan­i­sa­tion is dis­cussing with the Gen­eral Au­thor­ity for In­vest­ment and Free Zones (GAFI) ar­rang­ing a con­fer­ence in a Euro­pean coun­try.

Takashi told Daily News Egypt that the con­fer­ence aims to pro­mote the Egyp­tian mar­ket to Ja­panese com­pa­nies based in Europe, adding, “many Ja­panese com­pa­nies lo­cated in Europe are watch­ing Egypt’s po­ten­tials but they do not have much in­for­ma­tion about the mar­ket. It will be good to tell them that there is a chance to in­vest here.”

Takashi noted that a spe­cific coun­try in Europe has not been de­ter­mined to hold the con­fer­ence in. How­ever, Ger­many and the UK are be­ing con­sid­ered, po­ten­tially ben­e­fit­ing from the JETRO’s of­fices there.

Mean­while, Takashi said that the in­ter­est of Ja­panese com­pa­nies in the mar­ket is re­mark­ably in­creas­ing, adding that he met with many Ja­panese com­pa­nies which are keen on in­vest­ing in the lo­cal mar­ket.

“My mes­sage for new Ja­panese com­pa­nies is clear:many things were changed, it is a peace­ful coun­try, the se­cu­rity and the political sit­u­a­tion is fine,” said Takashi, not­ing that Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi is work­ing very hard to en­hance se­cu­rity and political mat­ters.

Takashi men­tioned that there are very good signs of the econ­omy im­prov­ing, adding,“the IMF es­tab­lished an of­fice here so there is much pos­i­tive news.”

Com­pa­nies head­quar­tered in Ja­pan are wor­ried about the sit­u­a­tion in Egypt, but the JETRO tells them that the eco­nomic and in­vest­ment sit­u­a­tion is im­prov­ing, said Takashi.

“I had a meet­ing with Ja­panese in­vestors in the real es­tate sec­tor. They are look­ing to set up big busi­nesses in hous­ing and fi­nanc­ing,” said Takashi adding that he has not yet ex­plained the New Ad­min­is­tra­tive Cap­i­tal’s op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Takashi said that a new Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany work­ing in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor is mulling the Egyp­tian mar­ket’s op­por­tu­ni­ties, po­ten­tially join­ing ma­jor Ja­panese com­pa­nies which are al­ready in Egypt, like Nis­san and Toy­ota, but he did not re­veal its name due to con­fi­den­tial­ity rea­sons.

“Last year, a big com­pany work­ing in en­vi­ron­men­tal busi­ness, like air con­di­tion­ers, started work­ing in Egypt and they want to ex­pand ex­ports from Ja­pan as well as set up a fac­tory in Egypt," noted Takashi.

Takashi said that another med­i­cal sec­tor Ja­panese com­pany, head­quar­tered in Hong Kong, started op­er­at­ing in Egypt lately and it is mulling ex­pand­ing its busi­ness, clar­i­fy­ing that the com­pany of­fers a new kind of busi­ness in the mar­ket, which is sup­port­ing pa­tients with con­ve­nient hos­pi­tals out­side the coun­try.

“There is a Ja­panese com­pany work­ing in the en­ergy sec­tor in Egypt, but it wants to en­ter con­sumer busi­nesses,” men­tioned Takashi, adding that some Ja­panese com­pa­nies are in­ter­ested in the food in­dus­try.

Takashi said, "Toshiba is al­ready [in Egypt], but I do not think it will ex­pand its busi­ness shortly be­cause it tar­gets high level



peo­ple who can af­ford buy­ing its prod­ucts, the prices of which may be high com­pared to Korean prod­ucts.”

Takashi ex­pected that Toshiba may im­ple­ment an ex­pan­sion plan when Egyp­tians in­comes be­come higher af­ter re­cov­er­ing from eco­nomic re­forms, adding that the Cen­tral Bank of Egypt is con­trol­ling the is­sue by al­ter­ing in­ter­est rates.

Takashi said that Ja­panese com­pa­nies which work in home ap­pli­ances in Egypt note im­prove­ments in pur­chas­ing power dur­ing the past Mother’s Day, dur­ing which their sales were much bet­ter than Mother’s Day in 2017.

Takashi added that he held some meet­ings with Egyp­tian of­fi­cials to help solve Ja­panese com­pa­nies’ prob­lems, in­clud­ing of­fi­cials from Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try, as well as the GAFI.

He clar­i­fied that some Ja­panese com­pa­nies ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ties in terms of com­pli­cated gov­ern­men­tal pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing in­vest­ment in and trad­ing with Egypt.

“I un­der­stand that the Egyp­tian govern­ment tries to con­trol the preva­lence of fake com­modi­ties from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets like China and Dubai, but the prob­lem is that the ex­tra pro­ce­dures add dif­fi­cul­ties on the com­mit­ted com­pa­nies,” said Takashi, adding that the govern­ment needs to en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

Takashi said that the lat­est bi­lat­eral trade sta­tis­tics of 2017 are very sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ously an­nounced data.

In Fe­bru­ary, me­dia re­ports said that Ja­pan’s trade with Egypt con­tin­ued to de­cline for the sec­ond year in a row to record $878.322m from Jan­uary to Novem­ber 2017, com­pared to $1.199bn in the same pe­riod of 2016 and $1.335bn dur­ing the same pe­riod of 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics that were pre­pared by the Ja­panese cus­toms au­thor­ity, Egypt ranked 86th on the list of the top ex­port­ing coun­tries to Ja­pan, while it ranked 51st in terms of the big­gest im­porters dur­ing the first 11 months of last year.

For­mer manag­ing di­rec­tor of JETRO,At­sushi Ikeda, ex­pected 2018 to wit­ness the be­gin­ning of grad­ual re­cov­ery in trade af­ter its de­cline in the past few years, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia in­ter­view pub­lished in Fe­bru­ary.

Takashi Tsunemi, manag­ing di­rec­tor of the Ja­pan Ex­ter­nal Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion

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