Russia rushes Egypt to start negotiations over free trade agreement
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: “Russia is rushing Egypt to conduct negotiations to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Customs Union that includes Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, Al-Ahram Arabic reported Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour as saying.

Abdel Nour said Russia formed a committee including group of experts from the Eurasian Economic Union to coordinate with Egyptian authorities and set a timetable for negotiations due to begin within a week.

“A  high-profile delegation lead by head of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance will visit Egypt next week to talk with Egyptian Veterinary Quarantine officials,” Abdel Nour said. “They will sign a cooperation protocol to allow Egyptian companies to export meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and dairy products into the Russian market as soon as possible.”

“President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to Russia is the main reason for the rapid shift in Russia’s stance towards Egypt,” he said and that the visit majorly impacted trade and economic relations between both countries.

Sisi visited Russia on Aug. 12 in his first official visit to Moscow after being inaugurated on June 8. He made a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a free trade zone with Eurasian countries and a Russian industrial zone in Egypt.

“Resuming negotiations confirms Russia’s  keenness and desire to achieve an effective partnership between both countries and to open new horizons for export and investment,” Abdel Nour said and that goods from both countries would cross without any custom restrictions.

“Egypt seeks to open new horizons for export and investment worldwide, not only with Russia,” head of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies Rashad Abdo told The Cairo Post Monday.

Russia’s strength is represented in four core aspects as the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter, world’s largest natural-gas producer, world’s second largest supplier of weaponry after the U.S., and as a pioneering country in nuclear energy, Abdo added.

According to State Information Service (SIS), Russian investments in Egypt amounted to $65.62 million in Jan. 2013 with 383 investing companies. Meanwhile, Egyptian investments in Russia amounted to $13.7 million in Dec. 2012.

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