by Ahmed Shafiq, Abdel-Maguid Kamal
CAIRO, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's participation in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a very important opportunity to increase Egyptian exports to the Chinese market, said Shirin al-Shorbagi, head of Egypt's Export Development Authority.
The CIIE will be held from Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, a world famous financial hub and one of the most populous cities in China.
"The CIIE is very important for Egypt which will participate with a 250-square-meter national pavilion ... Thirty-eight Egyptian companies will participate in a 450-square-meter pavilion," Shorbagi said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
So far, it is estimated that over 150,000 buyers from home and abroad will attend the expo. Apart from business exhibitions, 80 countries and three international organizations have confirmed their participation in the country-pavilion exhibition, which covers a total area of 30,000 square meters.
The Egyptian official said the participation is politically and economically important, adding that the national pavilion will include the Ministries of Investment, Tourism, Planning, Trade and Industry, and the Suez Canal Authority.
"The national pavilion will highlight the new projects in Egypt," she said.
She explained that 22 of the Egyptian companies that will participate in the CIIE operate in the agricultural sector, while the rest of the companies work in the sectors of engineering, medicines, garments and handicrafts.
"Exports to China are very limited compared with the imports ... China is a large country with a very large population and the exhibition is an opportunity to increase our exports to China," she said.
Shorbagi noted that trade balance is in favor of China, stressing that it is a very good opportunity for Egypt as China moves to adjust trade balance with different countries.
She revealed that Egypt's imports from China in 2017 amounted to about eight billion U.S. dollars, while exports stood at about 281 million dollars.
According to the Egyptian official, imports from the beginning of 2018 till August hit 6.2 billion dollars, while the exports during the same period reached 256 million dollars.
"The exhibition is a good start to go to China with our companies to explore the needs of the Chinese market," she pointed out.
Shorbagi said that during the exhibition, there will be several meetings between Chinese and Egyptian officials through Egyptian Commercial Representation Office in Shanghai and Beijing, adding that there is also a full program for both Egyptian companies and other enterprises to meet together.
"The national pavilion at the expo is an important opportunity to see Egypt with a new perspective through the recent economic reforms that have taken place, which help investors come to Egypt," Shorbagi reiterated.
Commenting on the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, Shorbagi said it helps strengthen the Eyptian-Chinese ties.
"The initiative strengthens economic relations between Egypt and China," she noted. "Egypt is an economic partner of China and also a tourism partner ... Chinese are very interested in Egyptian civilization and tourism."
"China's economic experience is unique," she said, expressing her strong respect for the Chinese people who are "characterized by seriousness and strong will."