CAIRO: Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin started on Sunday a week-long visit to China to promote Egyptian Chinese relations.
No exact figure has been released by the ministry of investment on the number of people joining the delegation, but according to Middle East New Agency (MENA), a group of officials from the public and private sector has accompanied the minister.
In addition to Beijing, the ministry of investment delegation will visit other Chinese provinces, in an aim to enhance economic and investment cooperation between Egypt and China.
Last week, Mohieldin met in Cairo with Wu Chunhua, the Chinese ambassador to Egypt, in the presence of Deputy of the North-West Suez Gulf Economic Zone, Ahmed Amin.
MP Mohamed Abol Enein, a major Egyptian businessman in the ceramic tiling business among many others, praised the visit, saying that China has remarkable experience in attracting multinational companies to invest in it.
“China has great experience that we can learn from, Abol Enein told Daily News Egypt in a telephone interview.
Abol Enein opened a representative office in Beijing 10 years ago to facilitate import and export deals for his companies.
On the other hand, Naguib Sawiris, CEO of Orascom Telecom that operates businesses in 10 countries in Africa and Asia, explained the difficulties of doing business with China.
“China is not easy, he told American journalist Charlie Rose in a recent TV interview, “China is impenetrable; the Chinese have been extremely unfair, and the WTO treaty and all organizations should close up, they have done nothing to force [the] Chinese to play fair. They [the Chinese] close their borders toward any foreign investment and they conquer the world now doing investment outside their borders.
“I’m talking about telecom and other region, they [Chinese] are completely not open to any foreign investment in their market and are trying to go outside and buy companies, that is extremely unfair, added Sawiris.
Orascom group opened a business in North Korea, in telecom, construction and tourism two years ago.
Abol Enein agrees with Sawiris that “there is also bureaucracy in China, when they open one sector and they feel the market has saturated, the government tries to close it again
“However, Abol Enein continued, “they have a very good experience particularly in the industrial zones where there are much more incentives.
During the one-week visit, Mohieldin will hold two conferences to promote investment in Egypt, which will include investment in the stock market.
The minister will end his visit by participating in the “Summer Davos conference that will be held in Dalian province on Sept. 10-12 under the title “The New Heroes . Attendance in the global business and economic gathering is expected to reach 1,500 high profile delegates who will discuss the global financial crisis.
Analysts are considering whether the ministry of investment’s visit to China will only help Sawiris and other businessmen invest in the economic powerhouse, or will bring more Chinese investors to Egypt.
Currently China leads foreign investment in Egypt with 800 projects and a total capital of $200 million. The trade balance between Egypt and China in 2006 was $2.2 billion in China s favor.