by Mahmoud Fouly, Emad al-Azrak
CAIRO, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing second edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) represents "a big chance" for Egyptian companies to compete in the massive Chinese market, said an expert in Chinese affairs.
"Egypt's participation in the 2019 CIIE offers great chances for Egyptian businesses to seize the tremendous opportunities provided by the Chinese consumer markets," Ahmed Sallam, a former media consultant at the Egyptian Embassy in China, told Xinhua in an interview.
The second CIIE kicked off in Shanghai on Tuesday and will continue until Nov. 10 under the theme of "New Era, Shared Future," with the participation of nearly 3,900 companies from at least 155 countries and regions.
The participation of 23 major Egyptian companies in the second CIIE, amid a Chinese tendency to increase its imports to 10 trillion U.S. dollars over the next five years, is expected to boost the Egyptian exports to China, according to Sallam.
Trade between Egypt and China exceeded 13.8 billion dollars in 2018, with 12-billion-dollar Chinese exports to Egypt and 1.8-billion-dollar Egyptian exports to China.
"It is necessary for Egypt to use the CIIE and the Chinese tendency to increase its imports to reduce the trade balance deficit between Egypt and China," the Egyptian expert said.
He emphasized that Egypt has a greater opportunity for increasing its exports to China because of the current development of its Suez Canal region and the lower shipment costs of Egyptian commodities exported to China compared to those of European commodities.
The Chinese giant import exhibition, which is held on an area of about 360,000 square meters, includes other activities such as bilateral meetings, investment forums and economic discussions.
"This will provide a platform for Egypt to present the aspects of its development and economic achievements, its investment opportunities and the measures it has taken to improve the business and investment climates," Sallam told Xinhua.
He said China will give foreign investments greater market access to more sectors and improve institutions for investment promotion and protection.
Sallam praised the Chinese willingness to open its markets to Egyptian exports, pointing out that Egypt's citrus exports to China from January to August reached 134 million dollars, marking a 65.8-percent increase compared to last year.
The key items of Egyptian exports to China include marble, semi-spun linen, copper, chemicals, plastics and rawhide, besides agricultural crops such as oranges, grapes, dates, frozen strawberries and fodder beets.
According to Sallam, Egyptian exporters still have many areas and opportunities to export to the Chinese market, including frozen shrimp, crayfish, garlic, leather, cotton and carpets.
"It is important for Egypt to seize the opportunities provided by the CIIE, to learn from the success of China's experience in the field of export development and to study the reasons for this success," he added.