Egyptian exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rose over the past year by about 116% to a record high of $2.4bn, compared with about $1bn in 2015.
Commercial counsellor for Egypt in Dubai, Younan Edward, said that the office aims to boost the size of Egyptian exports to the UAE to $2.7bn, increasing them by 12% from 2016.
Edward told Al Borsa that the UAE tops the list of exporters from Egypt, where the later is considered the main supplier of fruits and vegetables to the UAE.
He said that the UAE market is open to Egyptian products, but the fierce competition puts Egypt in the fifth place of exporters of vegetables to the UAE and the sixth in fruits.
He pointed out that the geographical proximity between the two countries makes it easy for goods to arrive fresh.
He added that tourism in the UAE has witnessed development in the last period, which boosted imports of food and beverages to 90% per year.
He explained that the Commercial Office in Dubai helps Egyptian companies learn the needs of the market and the opportunities to compete, noting that it also prepares market studies and provides prices offered by competitors.
Edward said that the office holds regular meetings with importers in the UAE to learn about their needs and arranges for bilateral meetings with Egyptian exporters.
He stated that the office carried out a promotional campaign for Egyptian food products in December and January with the help of the Food Export Council.
He pointed out that they prepared an electronic brochure and distributed them amongst 1,000 companies in the UAE, including importers, hotels, restaurants, and supermarket chains.
He said that the office also plays a vital role in arranging Egypt’s participation in international food exhibitions in Dubai, stressing that Egyptian representatives attend five annual exhibitions, including over 190 exhibitors from Egypt.
Furthermore, Edward said that the office coordinates with the UAE Customs Department and the Dubai Food Safety Authority to remove obstacles facing Egyptian exports, pointing out that the UAE did not reject any food products from Egypt last year.
In terms of future plans, he said that the office put together a plan to boost exports, where it will focus on food and beverages sectors in 2017, along with furniture, engineering industries, personal care products, and construction materials.
He noted that the office is currently updating the database of Emirati importers and their fields of interest to arrange preliminary introduction meetings via video conference.
He added that supermarket chains account for 65% of the retail market in the UAE, which drove the office to arrange with export councils in Egypt to invite Emirati investors to visit Cairo and learn about the possible cooperation potential.
He pointed out that Egyptian exporters are facing difficulties in obtaining supply orders, due to the strong competition with other producers.