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YEKATERINBURG, July 11. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt will sign an intergovernmental agreement on setting up an industrial zone, which may become a platform for Russian companies to tap fast-growing African markets, Russia’s Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov said on the sidelines of INNOPROM-2017 on Tuesday.
On February 2, 2016, Russia and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a Russian industrial zone near the Suez Canal. Under the memorandum, the industrial zone, which will offer favorable treatment and preferences for Russian resident companies, will cover an area of 2 million square meters in the east of Port Said. Russian carmakers, petrochemical enterprises, energy and medical companies are expected to locate their production facilities within the zone. The plan is to start operations in late 2018.
"The project on the creation of an industrial zone has come true over the past twelve months," Kalamanov said, adding that it is expected to become the first step to building infrastructure to bring Russian products to the African markets, while African markets will be more actively cooperating with Russian firms following the formation of an industrial zone.
According to the deputy minister, "Africa is currently in the spotlight, it is a serious market worth fighting for." He added that Chinese, US and European peers of Russian companies have strong positions in African countries now.
Kalamanov urged Russian firms to use the Soviet practices of tapping African markets and pledged to help through the Russian Export Center.