The British ambassador to Egypt has signed an agreement with the country’s assistant foreign minister for Europe to strengthen political and trade ties between the two nations after the Brexit transition period.
The deal secured between Sir Geoffrey Adams and Badr Abdelatty will allows British firms and consumers to benefit from continued preferential access to the market, which will help boost trade and investment.
The agreement will provide tariff-free trade on industrial products, as well as liberalisation of trade in agriculture, agri-foods and fisheries which will make trade easier and deliver savings to businesses in both the UK and Egypt.
Last year, total trade on goods and services between the two countries was worth £3.5bn ($4.7bn).
The Egyptian market for UK exports was worth £2.3bn in 2019, £1.5bn in goods exports and £800m in services exports. Major goods exports to Egypt included metal ores (£235m) as well as medicinal and pharmaceutical products (£111m).
Major imports to the UK over the period included intermediate electrical goods (£193m), and vegetables and fruit (£160m).
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Stronger trade links and more investment will grow our economies and help both our countries build back better from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Meanwhile, International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss said: “This agreement is a clear signal of the UK’s enduring commitment to our close bilateral relationship with Egypt and will help strengthen trade and investment ties in the future.
“The UK remains committed to securing deals that support British jobs, deliver significant savings and help drive the post covid-19 recovery.”
Britain left the EU on 31 January, entering a transition period which runs until the end of the year. Talks between London and Brussels have been stuck in limbo for months, stalling over three of the most contentious issues for both sides — fisheries, ensuring fair competition guarantees and ways to solve future disputes.
In under two years, the UK Government has signed or agreed in principle Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 54 countries. Total UK trade with these countries was worth £166bn last year.
The UK’s deal with Egypt brings this number up to 55 countries.
Watch: What happens if no Brexit trade deal is struck?