CAIRO: During his visit to China, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with members of the joint Egyptian- Chinese Business Council Tuesday to review the recent steps to boost Egypt’s economy, according to a presidential statement.
Sisi’s first presidential visit to China, which kicked off Monday, “marks excellent ties between the two countries,” the office stated.
Sisi was invited to make the trip by Chinese Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, the secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission of the Communist Party, during a meeting held Nov. 22 in Cairo.
“The President initiated his speech by stressing on the need to support the joint business council and its efforts aimed at promoting cooperation between business communities in the two countries,” presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said..
During his speech, Sisi demonstrated the recent steps taken to revive Egypt’s economy, including cutting of oil subsidies, increasing spending on infrastructure development projects and raising the standards of services provided to citizens; namely health care and education.
Additionally, the president shed light on the national mega projects launched recently, notably the Suez Canal expansion and the Suez Canal Axis Development projects.
The president commended the significant increase in Chinese investments in Egypt over the past three years. He referred to a set of measures taken by the government in order to lure more investments, including drafting the Unified Investment Law, which creates a new mechanism to settle state disputes with investors and promotes partnerships between public and private sectors.
Sisi invited Chinese businessmen to participate in Egypt’s economic Summit Conference scheduled for 3-15 March in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The government contracted two international consultancy companies to promote the summit.
Present at the meeting were Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and head of AVIC; a leading Chinese company in the field of civil and military industries.
During the meeting, Sisi hailed his Chinese counterpart’s initiative to revive the Silk Road, linking between China and the Mediterranean Sea, said Youssef, adding that the president highlighted the role of Suez Canal Axis Development project in reviving the Silk Road.
While implementing development and investment projects, Egypt is focusing on three key targets; reducing financial cost, commitment to achieving the highest quality and efficiency, in addition to completing the ongoing projects in a specified timeframe.
In addition, Sisi noted that Egypt welcomes all Chinese firms operating in the Egyptian market and that the government offers the required support, urging other Chinese companies to invest in Egypt to benefit from the “promising” investment opportunities available during the current period, according to the statement.
Youssef highlighted the fact that China, a significant economic partner, is Egypt’s second largest trading partner. Trade between Egypt and China amounted to $10.3 billion in 2013, of which $1.9 billion were Egyptian exports to China and $8.4 billion were imports from China, according to government figures.
The history of modern bilateral relations between the two countries dates back to 1956, when Egypt became the first Arab and African country to recognize the communist government of the People’s Republic of China.