Rachid: 2010 to be “hard year” for Egypt economy

In press statements made at the World Economic Forum that gathered in Davos, Switzerland Saturday, Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said the current year would be "difficult" for the Egyptian economy, due mainly to the unfolding global financial crisis–repercussions of which are still being felt worldwide.

According to Rachid, the crisis has impacted several of Egypt’s most lucrative foreign-currency earners, including Suez Canal revenues, tourism and foreign investment. Rachid explained that although Egypt had achieved an impressive economic growth rate of 4 percent in 2009–a figure which has been forecast to reach 5 percent this year–the coming period would nevertheless be a "hard one" for most national economies.

The minister went on to predict that the next round of trade talks in Doha, Qatar would fail to reach final agreement on a framework for global trade rules, especially after a full eight years of ineffective negotiations. He also said that, while there had been marked improvement in the quality of Egypt-manufactured products, Egyptian producers needed to boost efficiency further in order to compete in world markets.

Rachid criticized industrialized countries for exploiting the issue of climate change to impose carbon taxes on imports from developing countries, on the pretext that third-world industries utilize "unclean" sources of energy. "This policy will serve to hinder social and economic development in the third world," the trade minister warned.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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