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Cairo, Moscow to discuss free trade zone, imports amid anti-Russian sanctions

September 11, 2014, 12:37 UTC+3 CAIRO
The possibility of signing an agreement on free trade with the Customs Union as well as giving a boost to food exports to Russia amid sanctions will come into focus
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© EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

CAIRO, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. The Egyptian minister for industry and trade goes to Russia to discuss a zone of free trade with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as imports amid Russia's war of sanctions with the West over Ukraine.

The minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, begins on Thursday a nine-day trip to Russia and Belarus at the head of a heavyweight delegation of Egyptian business executives, industrialists and economists.

The possibility of signing an agreement on free trade with the Customs Union as well as giving a boost to food exports to Russia amid sanctions will come into focus, sources from the Egyptian Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

The delegation includes heads of 64 major Egyptian companies operating in food industry and agricultural sector, who will take part in the World Food Moscow exhibition due in Moscow on September 15-18.

Ministry sources said Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour was planning to meet with some Russian minister, as well as take part in a session of Egyptian exporters and Russian importers aimed to demonstrate Egypt’s huge export potentials.

Trade between Russia and Egypt stood at about $3 billion last year, growing more than twofold in the first half of this year ($2.5 billion against $1.2 billion year-on-year). Egypt accounts for up to 30% of Russian wheat exports. Russia imports Egyptian fruit and vegetables, with supplies worth $354 million last year. Egyptian authorities said Cairo was ready to enlarge the list of traditionally supplied to Russia vegetable products, as well as to offer different kinds of dairy, meat and fish products.

The energy, car-manufacturing and transport sectors are also seen as lucrative directions.

In Minsk, the Egyptian minister of industry and trade will meet with top Belarussian authorities to discuss a boost in trade and economic cooperation.

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