Egypt’s imports shrank by 12% in 2020 to approximately $63.587bn, compared to the $71.862bn recorded in 2019, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea.
Gamea said that the significant decline in imports can be attributed to the country having started its domestic manufacturing of some production requirements instead of importing them.
The move to greater local production aims to achieve the goals of the national programme launched by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to deepen local manufacturing and network manufacturing chains.
The minister said that the country’s trade deficit also experienced a drop of 17% in 2020, coming in at $38.3bn compared to $46.22bn in 2019.
She noted that this decrease came as a result of the positive rates achieved in foreign trade performance indicators during the past year, which totalled $88.88bn.
Gamea also said that Egyptian exports have experienced a slight decline of 1% in 2020, reporting $25.3bn compared to $25.6bn. This has come thanks to the government’s efforts to deal with the repercussions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the urgent measures it has taken since the pandemic outbreak.
As part of these measures, the government reduced gas and electricity prices for the country’s productive sectors. It has also put forward many initiatives to pay back dues to exporters, which contributed to the preservation of export markets and employment.
Ismail Gaber, Chairperson of General Organization of Import and Export Control (GOEIC), said that Egypt’s building materials sector was the most important of Egypt’s exporting sectors. In 2020, it recorded $6.15bn in exports, reflecting a 20% increase on the $5.14bn reported in 2019.
The most important recipient countries for Egyptian exports of building materials included: the UAE with a value of $2.14bn; Canada with a value of $632m; and Italy with a value of $492m.
Gaber added that medical industries exports in 2020 amounted to about $548m, compared to about $540m, reflecting an increase of 1% or an equivalent value of $8m.
He added that there are five countries whose markets accounted for 35.6% of the total Egyptian exports, namely: the UAE, with a value of $2.88bn; the US, with a value of $1.55bn; Saudi Arabia, with a value of $1.7bn; Turkey, with $1.6bn; and Italy with a value of $1.26bn.
He added that the five most important exporting countries to the Egyptian market accounted for 41.1% of the country’s total imports, including: China, with a value of $11.57bn; the US, with a value of $4.57bn; Germany, with a value of $3.96bn; Italy, with a value of $3.15bn; and Russia, with a value of $2.94bn.