Egypt seeks to replace US as major wheat supplier
The US’ largest wheat importer Egypt is seeking an alternative supplier, attributing the move to the rising price of the American product. The weakness of the Egyptian pound against the dollar is behind recent increases, reported the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC).
As one of the largest wheat importers in the world, Egypt buys seven million tons of the cereal annually, 75 percent of which is purchased from the US. American wheat competes with French, Australian and Canadian products for Egyptian government tenders.
However, since the 25 percent devaluation of the national currency last year, private sector millers have been turning to cheaper products from Hungary, Ukraine and Russia with lower freight costs.
GASC has been able to maintain its high purchasing levels of US wheat through credit facilities provided by American aid programs to Egypt. In 2001 the North African State received a $200 million grant from the US Commodity Import Program (CIP).
However this past August, the US government announced it will not grant any additional foreign aid to its long-term ally in protest to the Republic’s prosecution of Egyptian-American human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim and its lack of regard for pro-democracy organizations. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)