In Egypt’s trade policy review meeting held Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) headquarters, Egypt’s Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Egypt has made great efforts to ensure the integration of the Egyptian economy with the world economy.
The minister noted that trade in goods and services contributed about 33.5% of GDP during 2016, pointing out that the Egyptian government aims to increase this to 45% by 2020.
Egypt’s near-term trade policy objectives seek to ensure that exports contribute to 25% of the annual GDP growth rate, that exports increase year-over-year by at least 10%, and that the balance of trade deficit is reduced to 4% of GDP by 2030, according to Egypt’s report sent to the WTO secretariat.
In the report, Egypt said that tariffs constituted around 1% of Egypt’s total revenues in 2016, reflecting one measure of Egypt’s openness to international trade.
“Egypt has not filed any complaints within the WTO nor been a respondent on any dispute since 2011,” the report read. “Egypt is firmly committed to the WTO and the multilateral trading system, to its rules frameworks, and to its objectives, including those objectives that recognise that international economic relations in general—and specifically, international trade—are intended to raise standards of living and increase employment, as is enshrined in the Marrakesh Agreement.
The report pointed out that Egypt has notified six bilateral and regional arrangements since membership in 1995. National policy looks favourably upon bilateral and regional arrangements when they yield a net positive impact on world trade.
Further, the report noted that other major developments since 2005 include a strengthening of the trade facilitation framework, the establishment of a system of economic courts, a Competition Authority, and a national Food Safety Authority.
Egypt said that the primary economic policy objective by 2030 is to raise Egypt’s real per capita gross national income (GNI) classification from the lower-middle-income economy grouping to the higher-middle-income economy grouping. This objective is unlikely to be realised without Egypt’s deep and further engagement in international trade.
Shortly after the implementation of some elements of Egypt’s Vision 2030’s investment strategy, and even before new legislation was passed and entered into force, Egypt received $8.1bn in foreign direct investment (FDI) during 2016, a 17.1% increase over the prior year, making it the second-ranked recipient of FDI in 2016 in Africa.
In line with overall national economic policy under Vision 2030, Egypt is in the process of comprehensively reforming the energy sector (including petroleum, gas, and electricity), with a view towards increasing energy security by improving efficiency, improving the overall economic model, and substantially increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix. The strategy also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the sector by 10% and energy intensity by 14%, both by 2030, according to Egypt’s report to the WTO.