CAIRO, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's exports to the European Union (EU) markets rose by 24 percent in 2017 to reach 7.5 billion euros (9.2 billion U.S. dollars) compared to 6.3 billion euros (7.7 billion U.S. dollars) a year earlier, the Egyptian trade and industry minister said on Tuesday.
Egypt's Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil stressed the importance of translating the strategic relations between Egypt and the EU into "balanced trade relations that achieve the common interests of both economies alike."
Kabil's remarks came during his meeting with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in the capital Cairo, where he emphasized that the EU is the number one foreign investor in Egypt.
The Egyptian minister also noted that Egypt's imports from the EU delined in 2017 by three percent to reach 18.2 billion euros (22.35 billion dollars) compared to 18.8 billion euros (23 billion dollars) in 2016.
In mid-January, an Egyptian official report said that the country's non-oil exports increased by 9 percent to exceed 21 billion dollars in 2017 compared to 19.3 billion dollars in 2016.
Egypt has been suffering economic recession over the past few years of political instability and relevant security challenges.
To boost economy, Egypt started in late 2016 with full local currency floatation as an initial step of a strict three-year economic reform program based on austerity measures, fuel and energy subsidy cuts and tax hikes.
Egypt's reform plan has been encouraged by a 12-billion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund, half of which has already been delivered to the most populous Arab country.