Free trade zone in Gulf and Egypt planned by Trade Ministry
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A meeting is to be held by the end of 2014 with the ministries of trade, finance, planning and investment to construct a new Free Trade Zone (FTZ) between Egypt and the Gulf countries, official at Ministry of Trade told Okaz Newspaper Thursday.

The Suez Canal will be the starting point for this cooperation due to its strategic position, expecting a number of industrial and investment projects, a source said.

Since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, a number of Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE granted Egypt several loans amounting to $12 billion, however president-elect Sisi said in earlier statements in May that the Gulf aids to Egypt amounts to $20 billion.

Last June, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud called for a donor conference to help boost the Egyptian economy in a congratulatory cable to president-elect Sisi.

The source added that after the meeting with the ministries, there will be Gulf-Egyptian meetings attended by various experts to settle any possible dispute.

The FTZ will aid in reducing taxes on Egyptian-Gulf products, and Egypt hopes will lead to enhancing trade exchanges between Egypt and Gulf countries.

Al-Mal reported last June that there had been a number of meetings with officials from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in which they agreed to fund specific projects similar to the agreements signed with Emirates last year, which provided $2.9 billion for developmental projects.

According to the State Information Service of Egypt, trade between the two countries amounts to $1.7 billion, and about 500,000 Egyptian citizens are living in Kuwait.

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