Egypt and Sri Lanka agree to resolve pending trade issues

Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardhana held a discussion with Hussein El Saharty, Ambassador of Egypt, to explore the potentials of enhancing economic relations between Sri Lanka and Egypt, especially bilateral trade.

It has been noted during the meeting that although the value of bilateral trade between both countries averaged around USD 50 Million during the last few years, clearly not reflecting the huge potentials available to both Egypt and Sri Lanka given their strategic locations and complementary production sectors, a number of initiatives have been taken recently on both sides to encourage and enhance economic cooperation, including the proposal of a draft MoU between the Export Development Authority of Egypt and the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka, a draft agreement on Maritime Transport, an efficient mechanism to legalize commercial documents during COVID-19 lockdowns whereby both countries were able to increase mutual trade, and finally the operation of the very first flights of EgyptAir Cargo between Cairo and Colombo as an inaugural step towards re-establishing a regular air transport route between both countries.

Gunawardhana and Ambassador El Saharty agreed on the need to follow up technical meetings within the joint commission on economic cooperation to resolve pending trade issues, expedite pending draft agreements and MoUs, as well as the necessity to revive the Egyptian – Sri Lankan business association and organize large scale trade fairs and business to business meetings in Cairo and Colombo to reconnect Egyptian and Sri Lankan importers and exporters.

The meeting was attended by Ms. J.M. Bhadranie Jayawardhana, Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Ms. Chitranjali Dissanayake, Director General of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Ms. Anoma Premathilake, Director / Market Development at the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, and Karim Abulenein, Counsellor of the Egyptian Embassy in Colombo.