Egypt: Boosting trade

Author: Rachid Mohammed Rachid, Minister of Trade and Industry
Publication:  SmartLessons 2007

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Rachid Mohammed Rachid, Minister of Trade and Industry, describes his experience as a member of the new economic reform team appointed in 2004 by President Mubarak. The team was tasked with reviving the Egyptian economy to achieve economic growth levels of 6 percent, provide employment opportunities to the 650,000 new entrants to the job market and double both the foreign direct investment inflows and total trade through more integration into the world economy. To add to the pressure, elections were due in 2005 and without any demonstrable change, the new cabinet risked not being in government any more. The paper focuses on lessons learned from trade facilitation reforms carried out during from 2003 to 2007.

Main Findings

  • By 2007, customs clearance was reported to have fallen to 1 day from over 20 days in 2003; consequently, cargo storage time in warehouses dropped from 28 to 2 days, thereby reducing storage/demurrage costs.
  • Customs disputes are observed to have fallen from 35 percent of all customs transactions to less than 1 percent. 
  • All of which has contributed to a 175 percent increase in export performance between 2003 and 2006.