The British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams signed, on Saturday, an agreement with Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe, Badr Abdel Aaty to strengthen political and trade ties between the two countries.
The agreement will allow British and Egyptian businesses and consumers to benefit from continued preferential access to the market after the end of the transition period, which will help boost vital trade and investment.
This agreement will take effect in January 2021, when the EU-Egypt Association Agreement ceases to apply to the UK.
In addition to securing trade, the agreement provides a framework for cooperation and further development of political, economic, social and cultural links.
“The UK is committed to strengthening its relationship with Egypt and building co-operation on important issues including education, the environment and human rights,” the British Foreign and Commonwealth Ministry said in the statement.
The agreement will provide tariff-free trade on industrial products, as well as liberalisation of trade in agriculture, agri-foods and fisheries, which will make trade easier and deliver significant savings to businesses in both the UK and Egypt.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the agreement highlights the strength of the UK-Egypt partnership, and reflects “our shared ambition to build our cooperation on a range of important issues”.
“Stronger trade links and more investment will grow our economies and help both our countries build back better from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
Total trade on goods and services between the UK and Egypt was worth £3.5bn in 2019.
British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said, “This agreement is a clear signal of the UK’s enduring commitment to our close bilateral relationship with Egypt and will help strengthen trade and investment ties in the future.”
Truss explained that it will help provide both British and Egyptian businesses with new opportunities and provide them with the certainty they need to keep trading.
Egypt is an important market for UK exports worth £2.3bn in 2019 (£1.5bn in goods exports, £0.8bn in services exports).
Major goods exports to Egypt last year included metal ores (£235m) as well as medicinal and pharmaceutical products (£111m). Consumers and businesses will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Egypt.
Major Egyptian exports to the UK in 2019 included intermediate electrical goods (£193m), and vegetables and fruit (£160m).
The agreement was welcomed by British and Egyptian businesses. Nabil Besri, General Manager at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) North Africa, said, “As a large British Healthcare company in Egypt, GSK Consumer Healthcare welcomes the signature of this trade agreement between Egypt and the UK.”
He added, “This important agreement will undoubtedly ensure the continuity of the strong business partnership between our two countries and allow British investors to continue to benefit from a strong and healthy investment environment in Egypt.”
He added that GSK continues to be very optimistic about the future development opportunities in Egypt and looks forward to more growth under the terms of this agreement, serving the interests of both the British and the Egyptian economies.
Similarly, Anthony Pile, Chairperson at Blue Skies Holdings, said that the continuation of the free trade agreement between Egypt and the UK is of critical importance to Blue Skies.
“The agreement is vital to securing jobs, prosperity, sustainability and indeed driving much needed economic growth in both Egypt and the UK,” Pile said,“Now, more than ever, in the current international climate, we need the security of a seamless continuation of free trade to safeguard the future of our business.”