BUSINESS DIPLOMACY

Mr. Abdelrahman A. Raouf, Minister Plenipotentiary for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Bucharest : “The bilateral economic relationship between Egypt and Romania has gained momentum last year”

Abdelrahman A. RaoufMr. Minister, one year has already passed since your last interview with Nine O’Clock. What are the latest developments in the bilateral economic relationship between Romania and Egypt?

 

The bilateral economic relationship between our both countries has gained momentum last year in terms of increasing the trade exchanges value by 23%, compared to 2014. Mostly important is that Egyptian out coming business delegations have witnessed a great progress when I’ve received last year 4 big missions for the first time ever. On the other side of the equation, few Romanian companies have started to visit the Egyptian market for studying joint-venture projects, particularly at the domain of renewable energy and railways. It’s all good as patronizing actions rather than words.
 What are the prospects of this cooperation having in mind the traditional excellent bilateral relationship?

 

I am very positive that both business communities are to skip over the humps and raise the big bucks. Egypt and Romania have such a prolonged traditional relationship, where I sincerely believe that the time has come to reap such constructive influence by doing business. I’ve tried to cover the most topical substances of the Romanian market, giving at the same time insightful information on the Egyptian market. Both countries have such kind of business opportunities that match with their requirements. All what is needed is to raise more awareness of each side’s chances and opportunities and to get stuck into it.

 

 What are the main sectors and fields with the biggest potential of growth in the bilateral economic cooperation?
Of course there are specific segments, particularly in the field of trade and investment. For instance fresh produce can be heavily exported from Egypt, including citrus, potatoes and foodstuffs like tomato paste, white kidney beans …etc. Our priorities can be in four sectors: pharmaceuticals, building materials, chemical and engineering industries. On the other side, Egypt has become the first single country in buying Romanian wheat in a year.  Romanian companies can share their Egyptian counterparts in energy projects that it’s not ever been before in such sector. I do assume that there are some Romanian companies, along with Egyptian counterparts, that can get the job done.

 

What can you tell us about your main achievements since you’ve been appointed Head of the Commercial and Economic Section of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Romania?

Achievements are not up to my total expectations, as I believe they can always improve, but one can say that Romania can import more from Egypt – bearing in mind the Egyptian entire compliance with EU standards since 2004, with the available competitive edge in pricing. Moreover, I felt relatively a kind of success when I’ve visited the major counties in Romania for the search of finding concrete opportunities to export them from Egypt and initiating some joint-venture for both sides with mutual benefits. Egyptian direct and indirect investment in Romania exceeds 100 million USD, meanwhile Romanian investment in Egypt stands at 90 million USD. Consequently, there are still many rooms to be discovered.

Again, from the other side, I can say that I’ve assisted one Romanian producer to export directly wheat from their silos to Egypt – to be the first ever. I’m very enthusiastic to put the first producer directly with the final consumer for stitching out the deals, it’s a kind of slogan we are used to say in Egypt “Go through the Suez canal rather than the Good Cape ”

 

What are your plans for the remaining period of your mission in Bucharest in order to make the economic partnership between the two countries more and more dynamic?
As an axiomatic topic, the economic relation between both countries has started to be on the run, but it needs more effort to speed it up. It requires creating more networks among business people through organising seminars and workshops according to the targeted sectors. I do assure you of my belief that doing business like this is a two-ways job. The two main pillars are trade that can derive investment, and vice versa.
At this point, I believe such relations deserve a strong joint-body formed by actual and potential businessmen from both sides. The aims are to forge all possible business opportunities and to enhance such relation. The Commercial and Economic Office tends to arrange 2 big trade missions to Romania in the field of engineering and chemical industries within the rest of 2016. At the end, I can say that Egypt can be the main economic partner out of EU Countries and as a hub for Romanian goods and services in the Arab region and Africa, bearing in mind that some of today’s newest business players are originated from non – traditional regions such as African and Eastern Europe and Gulf area.

 

Romania and Egypt share a longstanding friendship and have just celebrated the 110th anniversary since the establishment of their diplomatic relations. In your opinion, how can be valued this strong capital of trust between the two countries, in order to build a more enhanced bilateral partnership in the field of economic cooperation?
It is a fact, that our relationship stands as a LONGSTANDING milestone, but in the respect of economic relations, we still have a long way to go for getting the best out of this fact. More deals are in the pipeline for both sides which need to be taken forward.
 

 

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