Interview: Egyptian-Chinese ties to leap under support of political leaderships: trade expert

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-17 06:41:52|Editor: Liangyu
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by Mahmoud Fouly, Emad al-Azrak

CAIRO, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The bilateral relations between Egypt and China are expected to take a quantum leap in the coming few years under the support of the political leaderships of both sides, said an Egyptian trade expert.

Diaa Helmy, secretary-general of Cairo-based Egyptian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the bilateral ties have been steadily growing over the past few years.

"The Egyptian-Chinese ties will take a quantum leap in the near future thanks to the political will of the leaderships of both sides," he added.

Helmy's remarks came while Cairo is hosting the second Egypt-China Investment and Trade Expo and the "Belt and Road" China-Egypt Cooperation Forum which kicked off on Thursday with participation of over 300 large and medium-sized Chinese enterprises and organizations.

"The development of the relations between Egypt and China is not restricted to commercial and economic fields but also includes cultural field, which is very important for the two countries," Helmy said, describing China as "a very important friend."

The past years have witnessed frequent high-level visits and interaction between Chinese and Egyptian leaders, which led both sides to elevate their bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership.

Helmy added that China's foreign policies are based on common internets, win-win partnerships, mutual respect and non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs.

"The Chinese foreign policy is far away from blackmailing, hegemony and monopoly of other countries," he said, stressing that Egypt and China share similar principles and positions and they have two of oldest civilizations in the world.

The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and China hit 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, mostly represented in Chinese exports to Egypt.

"China has expressed a desire to improve the balance of trade with developing states and achieve real development and welfare for all its trade partners, so the ball is now in our court as we should invest this Chinese desire and work on attracting further Chinese investments to Egypt," Helmy told Xinhua.

He added that China has recently been paying great attention to investment in Egypt, "which is very important to the Egyptian economy."

In Ain Sokhna district of Suez province in east of Cairo, Chinese industrial developer Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) is currently developing a total area of 7.23 square km in Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).

Many tenants and enterprises were attracted to the SCZone, including China's fiberglass giant manufacturer Jushi, which has helped Egypt become one of the largest fiberglass producers and exporters in the world over the past couple of years.

Chinese large corporations are currently working on a number of energy mega projects in Egypt, including Sinohydro, Dongfang Electric, Shanghai Electric, State Grid Corporation of China, Huawei and others.

"China ranks second worldwide in terms of its advanced technology in new and renewable energy ... there should be a rich area of cooperation with China," said Helmy.

He also expected growth in Chinese investments in several industries in Egypt, including automobiles, electronics, pharmaceutical manufacture and infrastructure.

Helmy considered the ongoing Egyptian-Chinese trade expo as "a communication bridge" between Egyptian and Chinese companies and businessmen. It is one of the means of boosting economic cooperation between the two sides.

"It is a chance for Chinese corporations to get acquainted with the investment opportunities available in Egypt that could lead to joint projects fruitful for both nations," he said.

On the other hand, Helmy urged cooperation between Egypt and China in tourism sector, noting that more than 100 million Chinese citizens go abroad for tourism every year but only 300,000 of them come to Egypt.

According to Helmy, although the number is considered small, Egypt's position as a tourist destination and its close ties with China makes it reasonable to expect further inflow of Chinese tourists to Egypt next year.