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The EU-Egypt Association Agreement, in force since 2004, establishes a free-trade area with the elimination of tariffs on industrial products and significant concessions on agricultural products. In addition, an ambitious agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products entered into force on 1 June 2010.

Following exploratory discussions in 2012, a dialogue on the DCFTA was launched in June 2013. Bilateral negotiations on liberalisation of trade in services and establishment are on hold.

Trade picture

  • Egypt is a major trading partner for the EU in the Southern Mediterranean region.
  • The entry into force of the Association Agreement in 2004 improved conditions for trade between the EU and Egypt. Since 2004, EU-Egypt bilateral trade has more than doubled and reached its highest level ever in 2012 (from €11.8 billion in 2004 to €23.9 billion in 2012).
  • The EU is traditionally Egypt's main trading partner, covering 22.9% of Egypt's trade volume in 2013 and ranking first both as Egypt's import and export partner.
  • EU imports of goods from Egypt in 2014 are dominated by fuel and mining products (49.5%), followed by textiles and clothing (10.2%) and chemicals (9.1%). EU exports to Egypt consist mainly of machinery and transport equipment (24.5%).
  • EU exports of services to Egypt are dominated by business services, while the EU imports from Egypt consist mainly of travel services and transport.

EU-Egypt "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2012-2014, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2012 8.5 15.5 7.0
2013 8.0 14.9 7.0
2014 8.6 16.9 8.4

EU-Egypt "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 5.4 3.2 -2.2
2012 5.7 3.6 -2.1
2013 5.2 3.2 -2.0

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2013, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2013 25.7 42.2 16.5

More statistics on Egypt

EU and Egypt

In June 2013 the EU and Egypt began an exploratory dialogue on how to deepen trade and investment relations, in particular through the possible negotiation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The DCFTA would aim at improving market access opportunities and the investment climate and at supporting economic reforms undertaken by Egypt. It will extend significantly beyond the scope of the existing Association Agreement to include trade in services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property rights, and investment protection.

A Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) in relation to a possible DCFTA with Egypt has been carried out by an independent contractor in 2014. Further information on SIA available here

Due to its Free Trade Agreement with the EU and accordingly Egypt ceased to benefit from preferential access to the EU market under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme from January 2014 (for more details on the EU's new GSP scheme, see here)

In November 2010, the EU and Egypt signed a protocol establishing a dispute settlement mechanism applicable to disputes under the trade provisions of the Association Agreement

As a response to the unprecedented events across the Arab world in 2011, the EU has identified possible avenues to further develop and deepen our trade and investment relations with Southern Mediterranean partners presented in:

Egypt in Euromed

Egypt is one of the partners of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbors to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East. One important part of this work is to achieve mutually satisfactory trading terms for the Euromed region's partners.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is an essential component in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Mediterranean region. Within the European Neighbourhood Policy , the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development). Since negotiations on the new Action Plan of the ENP have been de facto suspended, the EU co-operation programme for Egypt still follows the 2007-2013 Action Plan that has been extended until March 2015. Consultations aiming to revive the formal dialogue between the EU and Egypt took place in February and December 2014. The EU and Egypt agreed to re-launch their cooperation within the framework of the Association Agreement

In February 2004, Egypt signed the Agadir Agreement with Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. This committed all parties to removing all tariffs on trade between them and to harmonizing their legislation with regard to standards and customs procedures. The Agadir Agreement entered into force in July 2006 and the implementation is ensured by the Agadir Technical Unit in Amman.

The Agadir Agreement foresees the pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin. Egypt signed the Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin on the 9th October of 2013. When applied, this will replace the current network of bilateral protocols, facilitate the revision of existing rules of origin, and thus enhance regional trade and economic integration. The system – which makes it simpler to import products manufactured in more than one country throughout the Mediterranean basin – will generate new opportunities for economic operators and to be an important spur for further regional economic integration.

Egypt has free trade agreements in force with Turkey and with EFTA countries.

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Trading with Egypt

The European Neighbourhood Policy is the framework for financial assistance from the EU to support Egypt. More information about the EU co-operation programmes for Egypt 2007 - 2013