A high-level Japanese business venture is expected to visit Egypt next March to discuss furthering joint investment and trade relations with Egypt, as well as meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Takashi Tsunemi, managing director of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in Egypt, told Daily News Egypt.
“We want to arrange for Japanese companies a meeting with Egypt’s president during the planned visit in March. JETRO’s Chairperson, Hiroyuki Ishige, visited Egypt last April and met with President Al-Sisi, who requested to have additional meetings with company executives in the future,” Tsunemi mentioned.
Earlier in April, Ishige made an official visit to Egypt, where he met with President Al-Sisi, former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and former Trade Minister Tarek Kabil to discuss three main pillars: expanding investment opportunities through business-to-business meetings, innovation exchange, and export promotion.
Egypt and Japan enjoy a very good business relationship, asserted Tsunemi, declining to specify the exact number of the Japanese companies that will participate in March’s endeavour.
“We are in an early stage, so we aren’t sure about the numbers yet. However, we will also organise additional individual meetings with Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassr,” elaborated Tsunemi.
Notably, Al-Sisi visited Japan from 28 February to 2 March 2016, and met with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.
Abe affirmed his government’s intention to continuously support “high-quality infrastructure” developments and operations of Japanese companies in Egypt through Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), financing by Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and trade insurance by Nippon’s Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).
Many Japanese companies informed JETRO about their expansion plans in Egypt’s infrastructure fields, not only in Cairo but also in other governorates, revealed Tsunemi.
Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) project encourages Japanese machinery manufacturing companies to boost their businesses with Egypt, added Tsunemi, explaining, “the Egyptian projects in NAC imported huge amounts of the Japanese machinery and air conditioners, which will positively reflect on increasing the trade exchange.”
Masaki Noke, the Japanese ambassador to Egypt, said that about 50 Japanese companies are working in Egypt, according to local media reports in November. He added that Egypt is already a good export destination, but the amount of trade exchange is still modest.
In February, media reports said that Japan’s trade with Egypt continued to decline for the second year in a row to record $878.322m, from January to November 2017, compared to $1.199bn in the same period of 2016, and $1.335bn, during the same period of 2015.
JETRO held three seminars for the Japanese companies in Britain, Germany, and most recently in Tokyo, Japan where 200 Japanese businesspersons attended and expressed their aims to see the possible opportunities of conducting business with Egypt, mentioned Tsunemi.
Some Japanese companies started doing business with Egypt in 2018, one of them is a medical device company which has expanded its trading relations with Egyptian counterparts, added Tsunemi.
JETRO, which has eight offices in Africa including its office in Cairo, promotes mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world, boosts foreign direct investment into Japan, and helps small to medium-sized Japanese firms maximise their global export potential.
JETRO Cairo was first established in 1955 with the aim of promoting trade between Japan, the Middle East and North African countries. JETRO Cairo is in charge of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, and Sudan.