CAIRO: the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the United States during the first quarter of 2010 increased by 22.2 percent to hit $2.24 billion compared to $1.832 billion during the same period last year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Saturday.
There was a 9.5 percent decrease in deficit in the trade balance to reach $840.6 million in comparison to $929 million in 2009. This was the result of increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the US by 55 percent during the first quarter of 2010 with total exports of $700 million against $452 million dollars during the same period in 2009.
In a statement on the ministry website, Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said that despite the global economic crises and fierce competition in the markets, the performance of Egyptian exports during the first quarter of 2010 was positive and steadily increasing in most markets.
“This emphasizes the increasing competitiveness of Egyptian products during the current year,” Rachid said.
“This comes under the national strategy to double exports to LE 200 billion by 2013,” he added.
“The ministry will continue to provide support to different sectors in accordance with a new export promotion system which will start next July,” Rachid added.
According to Mamdouh Mustafa, head of the Egyptian Commercial Service, the value of non-oil exports rose by 26.8 percent, reaching $357 million in 2010, compared to $281.5 million during the same period in 2009.
“The value of petroleum exports also increased during the same period of 2010 by 101 percent to reach $342.5 million against $170 million during the same period in 2009,”said Mustafa.
“The value of exports in the context of the QIZ agreement rose by 13.2 percent reaching $267 million during the first quarter of 2010 compared to $236 million during the same period in 2009,” added Mustafa.
Mustafa pointed out that the Egyptian exports in the framework of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) increased by 13.2 percent to $12 million during the first quarter of this year, compared with $13.7 million during the same period in 2009.
He added that the Egyptian imports from the US rose by 11.5 percent as the Egyptian imports during the period were valued at $1.54 billion compared to $1.381 billion during the same period in 2009, adding that Egypt is ranked 32 among the top countries importing from the US.
The increased trade with the US comes within the context of the Egyptian pound weakening against the US dollar reaching LE 5.6933 for a dollar on Sunday.
Ola El-Khawaga, economics professor at Cairo University, previously told Daily News Egypt that this depreciation may be due to "several external and internal, indirect factors that affect the relationship between the currencies, including trade balances, the increasing value of the dollar against the euro and the deficit in the US economy."
She added that Egypt’s ability to deal with the issue will depend on the flexibility of its exports, and the possibility of shifting towards US markets.
"Our exports to the US will now be more competitive as they will be cheaper to US consumers, specifically in the service sector," said El-Khawaga.