A New Dawn for Egyptian-Mexican Trade Ties



Sun, 17 Jun 2018 - 12:00 GMT


Sun, 17 Jun 2018 - 12:00 GMT

CEO of ProMéxico Paulo Carreño King

CEO of ProMéxico Paulo Carreño King

CAIRO - 17 June 2018: A fter eight months of talks between Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Mexican Ambassador to Cairo Jose Octavio Tripp, the Mexico-Egypt Business Council was finally established on May 9 as part of an effort to improve economic and trade ties between the two countries.
The volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2017 reached $123.4 million, a figure both governments believe has room for improvement.

Mexico’s exports to Egypt—which include tubes, spare parts for railways, steel, zinc, iron and oxide—were estimated at $52 million in 2017. Meanwhile, Egypt’s exports to Mexico—which include urea, chemical fertilizers, ready-made garments and carpets—totaled $71 million.

The council aims to increase Mexican investments in Egypt, which currently amount to $1.2 billion, officials said during the launch of the business council.

“Ties between Egypt and Mexico have consolidated to the point where Mexico is the third-closest trading partner in Latin America for Egypt. For Mexico, Egypt is the most important Arab investor, the 10th investor among African nations (from 1999 to 2017), and among its top five trading partners in Africa,” CEO of the Mexican trade and investment agency ProMéxico Paulo Carreño King tells Egypt Today Egypt.

The council is formed of companies operating or having the intention to operate in Egypt and Mexico, and is headed by ProMéxico in cooperation with the Egyptian Commercial Service. Companies participating in the council include global building materials company CEMEX, the Egyptian Pico Energy Services Group, the private water company Aqualia, El Sewedy Electrometer, Kidzania and Polimeros Mexicanos.

The latter is slated to launch its first factory in Alexandria this year to manufacture synthetic rubber.

“Egypt is in hurry, and it’s good to be in hurry,” Carreño says, adding that both governments are very enthusiastic about building a bilateral body to enhance trade and commerce between the two countries.

“Egypt is full of energy and traditions as its government is very rapidly and energetically changing, reforming for the best,” he maintains.

Carreño spoke to Egypt Today Egypt about the role of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council and his expectations for the council’s role in bilateral ties. He explains that this happens through involving the private sectors and the public sectors of both governments in a move “[that] literally pushes toward the same objective, to help these men and women make money,” as well as civil society bodies to jointly form think tanks.

“This combination of the public sector, private sector and academia is very powerful,” he says.


What is the aim of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council?

The new Business Council aims to develop trade and business ties between the two countries, and the only way to do that is to help businessmen and businesswomen create investments on both sides. It also targets to help our exporters, for example, by supporting they sell their products and services here in Egypt and the other way round.
There are areas where we as a government can help, [but] the main actor in this process is the private sector.

What is the significance of the council for both countries?

The creation of the Mexico-Egypt Business Council represents a step forward in strengthening our economic ties. Its members vary in their backgrounds and industries; from entertainment to food and energy, they all foresee a promising future in our bilateral connections. For example, just recently, Polimeros Mexicanos announced its first internationalization project in Egypt, [in addition to] Tenaris Tamsa, which started a new exporting project to the Zohr, [providing] 900 kilometers of tubes.

The importance of having such a diverse council relies in the holistic character it will provide to bilateral ties, as well as in the new opportunities it will deliver.

For ProMéxico, it is a true honor to [witness] the emergence of an ever-larger platform for dialogue and cooperation. We are convinced that the council will provide our interactions with a special dynamism, both in the short and long term.

I would like to restate that ProMéxico is at its best disposal to serve as an ally and a friend to the council. I am confident that, together, we will be able to coordinate missions, exchange relevant information, and support projects for trade, investment and internationalization.

Why does the council mainly focus on the private sector?

Obviously, we have a duty as a government to provide the private sector with information, to help them organize business trips, and to pinpoint specific sectors where they might want to invest in such as food, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, transportation and information technology, which I find particularly important.

Egypt and Mexico are two countries that are transforming, and their societies [are transforming] into more skillful societies [with] an increasingly skillful [employee base]. [For instance] we need more engineers and Egypt has a lot of them.

How would you asses Egypt’s private sector?

Egyptian businessmen and businesswomen are very enthusiastic about change and they are opening themselves up to the world, which I believe is the right thing to do.

Egypt is now focused on the energy sector, especially after the discovery of Zohr gas field; are you planning to participate in that field?

In fact, Mexican company Tenaris Tamsa, which has a plant in Mexico called Veracruz and is considered one of the largest steel producers in the world, is already participating in Zohr gas field through supplying pipes for the field work, so we already have a solid Mexican participant in the Zohr gas field.

Mexico also has an important participant in the energy sector, Pico, and El-Sewedy Electrometer in the electricity field as well. Energy is such a fundamental economic area that we can work together on.

Are there any planned trade missions to Egypt or to Mexico during the upcoming period?

Absolutely, we start with what we have here now. There are eight businessmen from Mexico who came specifically for the creation of the Mexico-Egyptian Business Council, which is very important, and to do business. We have already had a couple of very good meetings with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI).

The meeting with EBA was with the chairman, the executive director and Alaa Diab [the EBA’s agriculture committee chairman]. The main agreement is to organize a business delegation in October for the agri-food business. Mexican companies have a business agenda in Egypt.

We held a discussion with GAFI about the incentives and opportunities of investing in Mexico, and Egypt agreed to signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exchanging information on mutual investments.

We also visited the Suez Canal, so businessmen are already making business. We are planning another trade mission in September. We are here to stay.


What are the prerequisites for businessmen to participate in the council?

All businessmen or businesswomen have to do is just raise their hands and say, “I want to be a part of it.”

When can we see the effect of these missions and meetings?

I trust that this trip will have a powerful effect very soon.

Would the activities of the council be reflected in the trade numbers between Egypt and Mexico on the short term?

I trust it will, as soon as this year ends. We are talking six or seven months.



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