By Islam Serour
President Morsy is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hiu Jintao on 27 August as part of a three-day visit to the People’s Republic of China, prompted by President Jintao’s invitation. The two leaders plan to discuss the situation in Syria and the Palestine, as well as ways of enhancing trade relations between the two nations
Chinese commodities saturate the Egyptian market, mainly because of their highly competitive prices. According to a 2009 study published by the Global Arab Network, the Egyptian-Chinese trade exchange marked a trade deficit in China’s favour, with Egyptian exports to China valued at $752 million, compared to Chinese exports to Egypt amounting to $3.59 billion.
Commenting on the visit, the Deputy Chairman of the Industries Union Mohamed El-Sweedy, said “the President’s visit to China, which will be accompanied by substantial representation from the Egyptian business community, is crucial to boosting Egyptian-Chinese economic ties.”
Financial expert Magdy Tolba told Daily News Egypt that the government is aiming at forging a new, clear and comprehensive strategy that encompasses all the aspects of diplomatic and economic relations in order to overcome Egypt’s chronic social and economic problems. “We have learned the lesson of relying on one single economic partner,” Toulba stated, commenting on the partnership with the United States, which is Egypt’s principal economic and trade partner.
“We need to form new economic alliances with other global partners; we need to enhance our economic relations with China, Russia, India, Turkey, and even Iran,” Toulba stressed.
Mohamed El-Masry, Deputy Chairman of the Chambers of Commerce’s Union, said the president’s visit to China is an attempt towards more openness to key global economic partners. However, he argues that the issue of Chinese investment in Egypt is overrated in the sense that China is an exporting country that focuses mainly on promoting its exports rather than investing in foreign countries. “Until now China is not an exporter of investment,” he said. El-Masry stressed that more efforts should be made to address the trade deficit with China, and should be focused on marketing and promoting Egyptian exports in general.
“As the biggest global exporter, it doesn’t makes absolute sense for China to focus more on exporting rather than investing in other countries,” El-Sweedy explained. He added that despite the current volatile security situation, Egypt has many attractive investment opportunities, and China faces competition in that respect.
“Egypt needs to boost its infrastructure and develop labour skills in order to attract more foreign investments and benefit from their outcome,” El-Sweedy said.
There are more than 2,000 Chinese entrepreneurs investing in 50 African countries, through which China has injected up to $20 billion. The Chinese government holds the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) annually in order to discuss with its African partners how to boost economic cooperation that would be mutually beneficial.