Trade Data Analysis

Egypt: Intra-African trade and tariff profile

Egypt: Intra-African trade and tariff profile

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This Trade Data Update provides an overview of Egypt’s intra-African trade relationships, both within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and with other individual African countries; the top import and export products traded; main African trading partners; and applicable tariffs. Data is sourced from the International Trade Centre (ITC) TradeMap database and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Tariff Database. The update is accompanied by a visual representation of key data and trends in an infographic.

Trade agreements and arrangements between Egypt and African countries

Egypt is among the 44 countries that signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Consolidated Text at the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union on 21 March 2018 held in Kigali, Rwanda. Egypt is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Arab-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, and the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area` (PAFTA) also called the greater Arab Free Trade Agreement.

WTO is a rules-based multilateral trading system whose goal is to ensure that trade between member states flows freely and predictably. COMESA is a regional economic community, and at this stage 16 member states are participating in the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA). The Arab-Mediterranean Free Trade Area provides full liberalisation of trade in industrial and agricultural goods among member countries (comprising Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan). PAFTA provides for liberalisation of trade among 18 Arab countries. The implementation of the FTA was completed in 2005.

Egypt’s intra-African trade profile

In 2017, Egypt imported goods from Africa to the value of US$1.8 billion, which accounts for 3% of Egypt’s total imports. The country’s exports to Africa amounted to US$3.2 billion, or 12% of Egypt’s total exports for 2017.

Petroleum oils and oils from bituminous were the main export products of Egypt to Africa, accounting for 16% of the total, followed by mixtures of odoriferous substances and mixtures (6%), cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose in solid form (4%), sanitary pads, tampons, napkins and napkin liners for babies (3%). Other main export products of Egypt to Africa were monitors and projectors, wheat or meslin flour, organic surface-active agents, non-wovens, pasta and copper wire, each accounting for 3% of the total exports to Africa.

Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons were the main import products from Africa accounting for 47% of the total imports. Tea accounted for 13%, followed by copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (11%), motor vehicles (5%), iron ores and concentrates (4%), cotton (3%) and coke and semi-coke of coal (2%). Other main imports included preparations of a kind used in animal feeding, cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form, and phosphinates, which accounted for 1% each.

Main African trading partners

In 2017, Tunisia was Egypt’s main export destination, accounting for 14% of Egyptian total exports to Africa, followed by Libya (13%), Morocco and Algeria (12% each), Kenya (9%), South Africa (5%), Ethiopia (4%). Ghana, Eritrea and Nigeria accounted for 3% each. In the year, Nigeria was Egypt’s main import origin, accounting for 22% of Egyptian total imports from Africa. It was followed by Algeria (21%), Kenya (15%), Zambia (10%), South Africa (9%), Morocco (7%), Angola (4%), Tunisia (3%). Libya and Burkina Faso accounted for 3% each.

Egypt’s intra-African import tariffs

Egypt grants duty-free access to all imports from its trading partners under PAFTA and Arab-Mediterranean FTA. COMESA FTA member states apply differential tariff dispensations to the different members of these FTAs. Egypt does not have any tariff reductions to Swaziland (now eSwatini) and DRC, on a reciprocal basis. The country grants preferential duty rates to COMESA non-FTA members (Ethiopia and Eritrea) and Uganda.

Eritrean and Ugandan exports to Egypt benefit from an 80% reduction on the MFN tariff rate, yet Ethiopia’s exports only benefit from a 10% reduction on the MFN tariff rate. The highest average ad valorem duties applied to Eritrea and Uganda are on alcohol beverages, wines and spirits (between 120% and 600%), food preparations (from 50% to 55%), motor vehicles (between 15% and 18%), and fresh vegetables (12%).

However, the highest average ad valorem duties applied to Ethiopia are on alcohol beverages, wines and spirits (between 540% and 2700%), food preparations (228% to 249%), motor vehicles (71% to 81%), and fresh vegetables (36% to 40%). Egypt levies specific tariffs on tobacco products from 1.8EGP/kg to 30EGP/kg for Eritrea and Uganda, and from 5EGP/kg to 135EGP/kg for Ethiopia.

Egypt mainly imports natural gas, iron ores and concentrates, coke, cotton, cocoa paste, coal, copper tubes and pipes and wool from Africa countries outside COMESA, PAFTA and Arab-Mediterranean FTA. Most of these products are imported duty free, except for natural gas, coke, iron and copper products.

Egypt grants Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment to all others, except those with which it has a preferential arrangement/RTA. The highest average MFN applied duties are on alcohol beverages, wines and spirits (500% to 3000%), food preparations (276%), and motor vehicles. Egypt has specific duties for tobacco products.


Egypt: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | June 2018
Infographic: Egypt – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | June 2018

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