More than 1,400 European, Mediterranean and Egyptian firms will meet in Cairo next month to discuss programs to modernize industry, an Egyptian official said Tuesday. The Medpartenariat Program, an industry modernization program (IMP), will be discussed at the October 3 meeting, Chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), Abdel-Moneim Seoudi said.
The FEI and the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce organized the meeting. Federation members will meet with representatives of Egyptian companies to discuss the final phases of (IMP). The aim of the program is to upgrade Egyptian industries with the assistance of the European Union, to make the companies able to compete in the global economy and perform effectively in the impending EU-Egypt partnership agreement. The program aims at reducing cost and increasing Egyptian exports.
"We hope that the meeting will provide our European partners with a view of what Egypt has to offer in terms of competitive advantages, incentives, and business opportunities," Seoudi told Al Ahram Weekly.
Seoudi said Egypt has selected 400 Egyptian companies that represent the spectrum of opportunities Egypt can offer in investment, technology transfer, under-license production, subcontracting, and other types of long-term strategic alliances.
Al Ahram said the companies taking part in the October meeting represent different sectors and have a potentially competitive advantage in EU markets. They include automotive industries, food processing and packaging, building and construction, electronics and information technology, light engineering, and services.
Over the years, FEI has worked to connect Egyptian businessmen with their counterparts in 15 EU countries through visits and events. "The objective was to expose Egyptian products and industries to the EU, which is our largest trade partner, constituting 45 percent of our foreign trade," said Mustafa El-Rifa', Minister of Industry and Technological Development.
El-Rifa' said Egypt's European partners would benefit from the many incentives offered by Egypt's investment policy. Incentives like low wages, tax exemptions, the availability of necessary industrial infrastructure in Egypt's industrial cities and a growing domestic market. El-Rifa' said Egypt would "guarantee the best environment for accelerating the technology transfer necessary to raise the standards of Egyptian industry."
EU ambassador to Egypt Christian Falkowski, said the IMP program is a step in a series of joint initiatives that were taken by the EU with regard to Egypt. One of the initiatives is the Private Sector Development Program (PSDP), a five-year program established by the European Community and the Egyptian government in 1996. It is designed to provide technical assistance to Egypt's private sector companies to promote economic growth and development.
Falkowski said European companies are eager to enter partnerships with their Egyptian counterparts because of the success Egypt has achieved in improving its economic environment.
"Egypt has finished an ambitious program to modernize and develop its economy in general, a fact which will enhance the conclusion of partnership agreements between the two parties," Goepfrich said.
Falkowki said European companies are interested in the considerable potential of the Egyptian domestic market and are also banking on the growing role of Egypt as a regional gateway to the neighboring markets in the Middle East and Africa.
However, Falkowki said Egyptian industry needs modernization and developed to be able to compete in the home market, which is flooded with imported goods from Europe. He said Egyptian businesses should also strive to increase cooperation with Europe in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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