You would not believe what is one of the most valuable material we export to the World. It is sand. And despite it is abundant and cheap to get the export of sand is not doing any good for the economics of Egypt. It does not require skilled workforce, it does not produces added value. It is as simple as to dig it in one place and throw it to the other. Egyptian sand is vital for the glass industry, quite developed in the ARE. Weren’t it better to supply the sand to our glass companies to export glass instead of sending it raw?
The same situation is with our main exports – granite, crude oil, light fuel oil, raw gold, gold powder, copper wires. Agricultural export is based on white cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, potato and onion seeds. Urea fertilizer and fragrance is the only chemical output exported. Also there is export of wool men suits and furniture components. That’s all: as for cotton and rice we are importers, not exporters of the products.
The Ministry of Trade announced a plan to stop exporting Egypt’s natural materials raw, instead requiring the re-manufacturing of materials to increase the value chain. In a meeting with export and industry officials, Minister of Trade Amr Nasar explained that Egypt is striving to push forward negotiations on a free trade agreement between Africa’s three major economic blocs: the Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community.
Through this plan, the Export Council for Building Materials, Refractories and Metal Industries aims to enhance the efficiency of their products.
Those plans are not new. All previous attempts were failed under the pressure of the import and export lobby, both domestic and foreign. It is unrealistic to implement it as a one time measure, it is long process hardly compatible with the framework of the World Trade Organization.