Chi­nese com­pa­nies im­ple­ment $7.59bn worth con­struc­tion projects in Egypt

Trade ex­change up 29.3% over first nine months of 2018, says Han

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Ha­gar Om­ran

The Chi­nese trade min­istry re­vealed that the value of con­struc­tion projects im­ple­mented by Chi­nese com­pa­nies in Egypt reached $7.59bn dur­ing the pe­riod from Jan­uary to Septem­ber this year mark­ing an in­crease of 772% com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

It came dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day for Han Bing,min­is­ter coun­selor for eco­nomic af­fairs at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Egypt, to speak about the Chi­nese - Egyp­tian eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

The trade min­istry’s sta­tis­tics said that the Chi­nese di­rect in­vest­ments in Egypt in­creased by 68% in the first nine months of the 2018,reach­ing $45m,said Han, not­ing “the in­vest­ments in­crease is mainly from Jushi, New Hope Group, Tian­jin Eco­nomic and Tech­no­log­i­cal De­vel­op­ment Area (TEDA), Heng­tone, XD-EGEMAC.”

“Many Chi­nese com­pa­nies are in­ter­ested to en­ter the Egyp­tian mar­ket.We are in­vest­ing in en­ergy, trans­porta­tion, and in­fra­struc­ture. How­ever, there are some chal­lenges re­lat­ing to reg­is­tra­tion, cus­toms du­ties, taxes, and visas for Chi­nese em­ploy­ees,” Han stated, stress­ing that the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment is pay­ing great at­ten­tion for en­hanc­ing the in­vest­ment cli­mate.

The Egyp­tian - Chi­nese trade ex­change in­creased by 29.3% over the first nine months of 2018, reach­ing $10bn, com­pared to the same pe­riod of 2017, he said, adding that Chi­nese im­ports to Egypt reached $8.7bn from Jan­uary to Septem­ber of 2018 while Egypt’s ex­ports to China recorded $1.3bn.

Egypt in­creased its agri­cul­tural prod­ucts ex­por­ta­tion to China thanks to bi­lat­eral ef­forts to achieve more bal­anced trade ex­change,Han pointed out,adding that Egypt’s veg­eta­bles ex­por­ta­tion to China in­creased by 11.4% over the first nine months this year to $56.5bn.

“Since the be­gin­ning of the year, the bi­lat­eral fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion has been do­ing great, as the China De­vel­op­ment Bank (CDB) signed two new con­tracts, the first worth $600m was with the Na­tional Bank of Egypt (NBE), and the other was with the African Ex­port–Im­port Bank,” said Han.

He added that a num­ber of Chi­nese fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions signed $7bn worth con­tracts with Egyp­tian coun­ter­parts this year, not­ing that Chi­nese loans in Yuan to the Cen­tral Bank of Egypt (CBE) have been pos­i­tively devel­oped af­ter the 2016 cur­rency swap agree­ment.

Ex­pand­ing in us­ing the Chi­nese Yuan in Egypt will pos­i­tively af­fect the numbers of Chi­nese visi­tors to Egypt, as the Egyp­tian min­istry of tourism ex­pects about 500,000 Chi­nese tourists this year, com­pared to 300,000 tourists in 2017, Han said.“We hope to achieve this num­ber.”

On the other hand, the Chi­nese - African co­op­er­a­tion is ex­pected to in­crease next year af­ter Egypt was elected to chair the African Union (AU) which co­in­cides with China’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans in the con­ti­nent.

Han af­firmed the im­por­tance of his coun­try’s two ma­jor events in 2018 that will pos­i­tively im­pact the eco­nomic ties with other coun­tries.The first event was the Fo­rum on Chi­naAfrica Co­op­er­a­tion (FOCAC) in Septem­ber which was at­tended by Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi.

Fol­low­ing the FOCAC, Egypt and China signed an agree­ment to de­velop the in­fra­struc­ture of the sec­ond phase of the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict (CBD) at the New Ad­min­is­tra­tive Cap­i­tal with in­vest­ment of $3.5bn. They also con­tracted to es­tab­lish a pro­ject in the petro­chem­i­cal sec­tor in the Suez Canal Eco­nomic Zone with in­vest­ment of $6.1bn, ac­cord­ing to previous me­dia re­ports.

Al-Sisi’s last visit to China also wit­nessed the sign­ing of con­tracts for the con­struc­tion of a wa­ter stor­age sta­tion in Ga­balA­taka with in­vest­ments of $2.7bn and a coal power plant in Al-Ham­rawin.

The sec­ond Chi­nese event was the coun­try’s first in­ter­na­tional im­port expo which was at­tended by Egypt’s PM Mostafa Mad­bouli, head­ing an Egyp­tian del­e­ga­tion, in the expo while Egypt was a guest of honor.

FOCAC wit­nessed a dec­la­ra­tion for boost­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Africa in­clud­ing a joint ac­tion plan for three years, said Han, adding that the joint ac­tion plan de­fined eight ma­jor ini­tia­tives for the African- Chi­nese co­op­er­a­tion. “We would like to fo­cus our co­op­er­a­tion with Africa on eight ma­jor ini­tia­tives which was an­nounced in Septem­ber,” to help African coun­tries to build their own de­vel­op­ment, he elab­o­rated.

In­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, ca­pac­ity build­ing, and health are the main fo­cus of China in the fu­ture, which come in line with the 2063 agenda.

China plans for launch­ing an African eco­nomic trade expo to pro­vide an ap­pro­pri­ate op­por­tu­nity for sev­eral en­ter­prises to meet and share their ex­pe­ri­ences of de­vel­op­ment, said Han, adding that China will in­crease its in­vest­ments in Africa, mainly in agri­cul­tural, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, lo­gis­tics and e-com­merce sec­tors.

“We will ex­pand in es­tab­lish­ing new eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion zones. We have one al­ready in Ain Sokhna. For Africa’s agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment, we will share our ex­pe­ri­ences with our African friends to in­crease the food sup­ply by 2030,” men­tioned Han.

China will con­duct 50 agri­cul­tural pro­grammes in Africa with par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on in­creas­ing the pro­duc­tion of wheat, rice, corn, and cot­ton, said Han,adding that his coun­try will send about 500 Chi­nese ex­perts to Africa to help in im­prov­ing agri­cul­ture tech­nol­ogy.

FOL­LOW­ING THE FOCAC, EGYPT AND CHINA SIGNED AN AGREE­MENT TO DE­VELOP THE IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE OF THE SEC­OND PHASE OF

THE CEN­TRAL BUSI­NESS DIS­TRICT (CBD) AT THE NEW AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TIVE CAP­I­TAL

A press con­fer­ence on Tues­day for Han Bing, min­is­ter coun­selor for eco­nomic af­fairs at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Egypt

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