The deficit of the trade balance has decreased by 46.24% during the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to a press statement issued on Friday by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The amount of decrease amounted to $5.669bn, explaining that the deficit recorded $6.591bn in Q1 of 2017, instead of $12.260bn during the same period last year, according to the statement.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil stated that the main reason is the increase in Egyptian exports, explaining that the value of exports reached $5.519bn instead of $4.788bn, recording an increase of 15.3%.
The reduction of imports was another reason, according to the statement. Kabil said that the imports in this period decreased by 29%, recording $12.110bn compared to $17bn in 2016.
Kabil said that the positive development in raising the exports and reducing the imports was a result of decisions made during the past few months that aim at reducing the gap between imports and exports, while also implementing an economic recovery programme that prevented the draining of foreign currencies.
He stated that importing restrictions made the people switch to local products instead of imported ones, which made local manufacturing increase their production and create more job opportunities.
The statement showed export increases in different fields, such as construction material exports that hiked by 60%, chemicals products that rose by 32%, and furniture by 7.4%.
The main markets that received Egyptian exports were countries that are connected to Egypt through international trade agreements, such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), countries of the Agadir Agreement, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and many other markets in Europe, the statement read.
Kabil said that the main countries were the United States of America, Britain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Lebanon.