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New trade agreement

Egypt and Sudan on Tuesday signed a new trade agreement that will give preferential customs treatment to ease commercial exchanges between the two neighbouring countries, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported. It said the agreement had been signed at the weekend by Egyptian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Yusuf Butrus Ghali and visiting Sudanese Foreign Trade Minister Makki Ali Balayil.

After the agreement was signed, Ghali recalled that both nations are members of Comesa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. He said they had agreed that joint technical committees would supervise execution of the agreement in coming weeks. The trade agreement would include maintaining cooperation “between the Egyptian and Sudanese international trade points in the domain of trade and export data exchange”. The two countries also agreed to set up a joint business council and launch cooperation in the banking sector, as well as in industry, agriculture, and investment.

The news agency said trade between Egypt and Sudan had reached a high of US $86 million in 1998, and then dropped to US $78 million last year. Egyptian exports to Sudan comprise mainly rice, flour, medicines, fertilisers and foodstuffs, while the Sudanese exports to Egypt include cotton, sesame and live camels.

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