A cargo ship is seen crossing through the New Suez Canal, Ismailia, Egypt on Monday. (Reuters Photo)
CAIRO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Egypt will sign an intergovernmental agreement on setting up an industrial zone in Egypt, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The industrial zone may become a platform for Russian companies to tap fast-growing African markets, Russia's Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying on Tuesday.
Under a memorandum signed by the two countries, the industrial zone will offer favorable treatment and preferences for Russian resident companies.
The industrial zone will cover an area of 2 million square meters in the east of Suez Canal city of Port Said, according to the memorandum.
Russian car makers, petrochemical enterprises, energy and medical companies are expected to build production facilities within the zone, which is planned to start operations in late 2018.
"The project on the creation of an industrial zone has come true over the past twelve months," Kalamanov said.
He added that it is expected to become the first step to build infrastructure to bring Russian products to the African markets, while African markets will be more actively cooperating with Russian firms following the formation of an industrial zone.
According to the deputy minister, "Africa is currently in the spotlight, it is a serious market worth fighting for." He added that Chinese, U.S and European peers of Russian companies have strong positions in African countries now.
China's TEDA Corporation, one of the oldest industrial developers in Suez Canal Economic Zone, has been developing an area of over 7 square km in Ain Sokhna district of the Suez Canal Corridor east of Cairo.
TEDA has completed its first phase, attracting some 68 enterprises, including Jushi, a fiberglass giant from China. The second phase started in 2016.