During his presidency of the first meeting of the Egyptian-Portuguese Business Council, Businessman Mohamed Abou El-Enein, President of the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Portuguese Business Council, said that development of the Egyptian-Portuguese relations is due to President El-Sisi’s visit to Portugal, which is the first since 24 years.
He added that the Portuguese President’s recent visit will witness great momentum in investments and trade and the volume of logistics cooperation between the two countries.
“Portugal is always supportive to Egypt against any attack, whether in the European Union or the United Nations,” said businessman Mohamed Abou El-Enein. He praised the Portuguese Ambassador in Cairo, saying that “She is honest in conveying the correct information about Egypt”.
He added that the Egyptian-Portuguese cooperation is very late, and the volume of investments between the two countries is very modest, but the political support of the two presidents provides great opportunities for investment and development of relations for the benefit of both countries.
He stressed that Egypt has a large market that Portuguese investors can exploit and vice versa, as well as cooperation in various industries, especially in the field of leather, and they can benefit from the new leather city in Badr City, Egypt.
Abou El-Enein said that the great political support provided by the political leadership of the two countries gives great impetus to the advancement of economic relations to its enormous potential. The historic visit of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Portugal in 2016 was the first visit by an Egyptian president to Portugal since 24 years ago, and it opened the door for a new phase of relations between the two countries.
He pointed out that this political support puts a great responsibility and burden on the business community in both countries to play its role to increase trade and investment, because the current figures are modest and do not reflect the real potential for great cooperation between Egypt and Portugal.
Abou El-Enein presented the opportunities and climate of investment in Egypt, and the tremendous development witnessed in visions, policies, legislation and procedures, as well as the positive results achieved by economic reform and the political will that is racing to achieve large projects in record times despite the challenges. He pointed out to Egypt’s success in attracting large investments for many European, American, Korean and Japanese international companies.
As friends of Egypt, the Portuguese have the same opportunities and more as a result of the political support from the political leadership of the two countries.
He stressed that Egypt is not only the largest local market in the region, but its distinguished geographical position and a series of free trade agreements with more than 70 countries, open up markets for about 2 billion consumers in the Arab region, Africa, the European Union and Mercosur. These markets represent an opportunity for Portuguese investments that we invite to come to invest and benefit.
Abou El-Enein also presented the investment opportunities in the Suez Canal area and the privileged position, incentives and advantages offered by the Economic Zones Law and the Investment Law, such as exempting imports from customs and value added tax, as well as tax deductions for some sectors such as communications and information technology.
He called the Portuguese side called for studying the establishment of a Portuguese industrial and logistic zone in the axis of development of the Suez Canal, which will be the center of SMEs in Egypt along the lines of the Russian and Chinese regions.
I addition, Abou El-Enein referred to investment opportunities in the new specialized industrial cities established during the last four years and providing all facilities and services, as well as the economic zone of the Golden Triangle in southern Egypt and the opportunities it offers for industrial, mining, and tourism investment. There are Italian companies that have already started to invest there. This is a great opportunity for Portuguese companies to benefit as well.
The President of the Egyptian-Portuguese Business Council identified opportunities and priority areas of cooperation from the point of view of the Egyptian side, which are represented in attracting the Portuguese direct investment in the manufacture of leather products, especially shoes in the city of Rubeki, as well as the joint manufacturing in the textile and garment sector.
There are other investment opportunities in automotive feeder industries, ICT, renewable energy, logistics, infrastructure, construction, furniture, machinery, equipment, food, agriculture, the establishment and management of the industrial zones and the exploitation of Portuguese logistic centers and ports to be the starting point of the Egyptian exports to West Africa, Latin America and the European Union.
For his part, the head of Portuguese Trade & Investment Agency (Aicep) said they are considering having a permanent presence in Egypt and that the agency supports the joint business council and encourages Portuguese businessmen to have intensive activity with Egypt and that (Aicep) is reliable to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
- The importance of the role of this Joint Business Council was emphasized and it will be an effective tool in enhancing cooperation through its role in establishing partnership between the companies of the two countries, and identify and promote opportunities for cooperation.
- It was agreed that the immediate priority would be the joint manufacturing in leather (shoe manufacturing) and textiles sectors through using Egyptian raw materials, factories and machines for joint manufacturing using Portuguese technologies and brands.
- The head of the Portuguese side promised to contact Portuguese business organizations working in the sectors of leather products, footwear, textiles and clothing in order to invite the Egyptian companies to the annual international conference they organize to discuss aspects of cooperation together.
- It was agreed to arrange to hold parallel meetings in the near future between the leather and textile manufacturers in Egypt and Portugal to discuss opportunities for cooperation. The Egyptian and Portuguese sides will then meet to discuss how to turn these proposals into joint projects.
- It was agreed to organize field visits to some areas, especially the city of Rubiki, as well as visiting some Egyptian factories to discuss opportunities for cooperation on the ground.
- It was stressed that the door is open to other companies that are not members of the Council to work with them to enhance cooperation. Accordingly, it was agreed to address the businessmen organizations in the two countries and through the publication in the media to invite companies wishing to cooperate with the other country to communicate with the Council and submit their proposals to enhance the role of the Council to be a link between the companies from both countries.
- The Portuguese side promised to study the possibility of establishing technological and training centers in textile and leather products industries in Egypt to train youth in these industries.
- The Council stressed its role in mediating between the concerned authorities in both countries to resolve any problems, paving the way for further cooperation.
- It was agreed in principle to arrange an Investment Conference before the end of this year in either country to discuss in detail the investment climate and available investment opportunities.
- It was agreed that the next meeting of the Council will be held in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ahmad Antar, Representative of Minister of Trade & Commerce
The Egyptian Side:
- Mahmoud Serg/ Serg Tannery
- Mohamed El-Kaluobi/ El-Masreya Co. for Spinning & Weaving
- Mohamed Marzouk/ Nile Co. for Spinning & Weaving
- Mohamed Ali Abbai/ Sidi Krair Co. for Petrochemicals
- Gamal Abou El-Saud/ Masr Co. for Compressors
- Alaa El-Deen Ezz/ Secretary General of Chambers of Commerce Federation
- Amr El-Segini/ Chainman of Business Youth Association
- Ahmed Ebrahim/ Kama Co. for Coating and metalworking
- Fadi Nabil Youssef/ Fresh Electric for household appliances
- Ashraf Antwan / Engineering Co. fir International Trading
The Portuguese Side:
- Luis Castro Henriques – Rita Araújo / Aicep Portugal Global
- André Magrinho / Fundação AIP
- Rui Paiva / Wedo Technologies
- Miguel Repas – Eng. Edgar Secca / Strix
- Dr Vilar de Jesus / idD- Plataforma das Indústrias de Defesa
- Dr Hugo Serra Lopes / Anje
- Gilberto Rodrigues – Dr. João TeixeiraGrupo / Elevo
- Nuno Real / NORVIA
- JP Sá Couto