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Young Entrepreneurs to boost bilateral trade ties between SL and Egypt

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Young Lankan Entrepreneurs has taken measures to boost bilateral trade ties between Sri Lanka and Egypt to an ambitious target of $ 40 million by 2024. 

The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) recently convened a special forum uniting key stakeholders to deliberate on strategies to boost bilateral trade ties between Sri Lanka and Egypt to achieve  this ambitious target. 

The focus of the forum held in July revolved around COYLE’s commitment to nurturing trade links with Egypt, highlighting the potential for mutual prosperity and underlining its dedication to nurturing robust commercial connections between the two countries.

Notable attendees included the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Sri Lanka Maged Mosleh, and Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs Ayman Kamel.

Egyptian Ambassador Mosleh commended COYLE’s proactive approach to strengthening trade relations and emphasised Egypt’s keenness to expand trade and commercial partnerships with Sri Lanka. His sentiments aligned seamlessly with COYLE’s mission to promote mutual growth and facilitate robust economic cooperation between the two countries.

An integral point of discussion centred on revitalising the export of Ceylon Tea to Egypt. In the past, Ceylon Tea held a dominant position in Egypt’s market, but over time, it faced stiff competition from players representing other countries.

This combined with collective shortcomings on both sides unfortunately led to Ceylon Tea losing its market-leading position in Egypt. Thus, COYLE emphasised the need to regain Ceylon Tea’s market leadership and called for collaborative efforts between Sri Lanka and Egypt to accomplish this feat, a call that was enthusiastically supported by the Egyptian delegates.

According to the Export Development Board (EDB), Egypt stands as one of the top 50 destinations for Sri Lankan exports, amounting to $ 31.27 million in trade in 2022.

Concurrently, Sri Lanka imported goods worth $ 13.34 million from Egypt during the same period, solidifying Egypt’s position as a noteworthy import source for the country.

In 2022, Sri Lanka’s major exports to Egypt included desiccated coconut, tea, rubber tyres and tubes, knitted fabrics, woven fabrics, men’s outerwear, transport equipment, defatted coconut, and packaging materials, showcasing the diverse potential for collaboration between the two nations’ industries.

The forum acknowledged historical trade ties between the two nations while addressing recent challenges faced by Sri Lankan exporters trading with Egypt. Payment-related issues were a significant concern, particularly for the tea industry.

The lack of formal trade agreements was also highlighted, prompting discussions on expanding trade potential through new trade pacts and agreements.

In response to the hurdles encountered in exports to Egypt, the EDB reported a decline of 13.41% in Sri Lanka’s exports to Egypt compared to the previous year, with imports from Egypt experiencing a 69.44% decline due to import restrictions imposed during the 2022 financial crisis.

COYLE expressed determination to reverse this trend and promote consistent bilateral trade growth, and this was welcomed by the Egyptian delegation, and accompanied by pledges to support this goal.

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