Yemen signs trade agreement with Egypt

Yemen seeks to improve the quality of imported goods. Above, a bazaar is seen in Sanaa. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

Yemen seeks to improve the quality of imported goods. Above, a bazaar is seen in Sanaa. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

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Yemen and Egypt on January 13th signed an agreement in Cairo to improve technical co-operation, exchange expertise and increase trade between the two countries.

The memorandum, signed by Waleed Othman, director general of the Yemeni Standardisation Metrology and Quality Control Organisation (YSMO), and Hassan Abdul Mageed, director general of the Egyptian Organisation for Standardisation and Quality (EOS), aims to foster technical communication and the exchange of expertise and consultation and to increase co-operation and the exchange of information on compliance verification procedures, Othman said.

The joint action also aims to remove the technical barriers impeding bilateral trade between Egypt and Yemen in order to improve the quantity and quality of goods exchanged, he added.

Under the new agreement, Egypt's General Authority for Import/Export Quality Control will inspect products and goods prior to their export to Yemen to ensure they comply with Yemen's standard specifications and technical requirements, he said.

This "would certainly have a [positive] impact on the Yemeni consumer by ensuring that products exported to Yemen meet health and safety requirements," Othman said.

The YSMO is trying to apply quality control to all imports to Yemen via agreements with the products' countries of origin, deputy director-general Ibrahim al-Hashaf told Al-Shorfa.

This measure is being taken to protect consumers and monitor the quality of imported products in general, and food products and goods in particular, al-Hashaf said.

The agreement with Egypt is particularly important, he said, "in light of the fact that Egypt ranks high on the list of countries exporting to Yemen with a total of $259 million in exports in 2011".

The Yemeni organisation also seeks to exchange information and technical expertise in order to improve its efforts to curb the import of non-compliant goods and strengthen the bonds of trade between the two countries while easing access to the Yemeni market for Egyptian goods, al-Hashaf said.

It expects to conclude similar agreements with other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China, he added.

Importance of similar agreements

The agreement was welcomed by the Yemen Association for Consumer Protection (YACP).

"The agreement is important and will primarily serve the consumers and enhance the role of the YSMO through technical co-operation, and the exchange of expertise, consultation and information on cargo shipments," YACP chairman Fadhel Mansour told Al-Shorfa.

It is important that the YSMO conclude similar agreements with top exporting countries and that import traders comply with Yemen's standard specifications, Mansour said.

As a member of the GCC Standardisation Organization, Yemen follows GCC standard specifications.

Mustafa Nasr, director of the Studies & Economic Media Centre also welcomed the agreement and stressed the importance of benefiting from Egypt's technical expertise, adding that the Yemeni organisation's technical capacity is limited and it does not have a presence at all customs entry points.

"Some Yemeni traders order certain goods that do not comply with standard specifications, and take advantage of the long borders to bring in items and goods that are non-compliant," he said.

"The YSMO should take deterrent measures in collaboration with relevant government agencies and ban any product found to be in violation of [approved standard] specifications from entering the market on account of the huge negative impact they would have on public health and the national economy," Nasr said.

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    حامد فوزي

    2013-1-26

    The new economic experience of Yemen is useful in transition from backwardness, which is plaguing their lives, to the desired progress. The Yemeni experience also provides us with a useful model of consumer and production openness. In this context, I call on the Egyptian businessmen to put the national interests first in terms of production, i.e. they should seek to restrict the dependence on imported products to cover the need of consumers. Of course, those businessmen are the main importers of such products.

  • حامد اللميع

    2013-1-26

    No one can deny that joint cooperation between Egypt and Yemen will be very fruitful given that Yemen actually needs art, economic and trade development. Thus, it has to intensify its efforts in order to reform the economic situation. It is worth mentioning that Egypt has a lot of human resources which are able to promote the Yemeni economy. In fact, exploiting such cadres in teaching Yemenis the basics of commerce, arts, and economics and so on will make things easier for the State. Therefore, the Yemeni officials must act quickly and benefit from Egyptians in learning trade and some aspects of arts given that the latter are almost absent in Yemen, or in other words, limited. Thus, the Yemeni officials should take advantage of Egyptians to learn such things given that the artistic aspects are very important in Yemen since most of the goods will not conform to the standards without these artistic aspects. However, the artistic capabilities will enable them to examine goods in customs ports so that they will be able to get rid of any goods which are not conforming to specifications. So, I suggested to the officials in Yemen that they do their utmost in order to inspect all the goods entering Yemen. Yet, the Specifications Committee should take all the necessary measures to prevent any goods which do not conform to specifications from entering Yemen. Therefore, I hope that Allah will respond to my prayers so that the fruitful cooperation between Yemen and Egypt will undoubtedly succeed, since Arab countries are aware that their mutual cooperation will certainly be fruitful.

  • سليمان عثمان

    2013-1-26

    I do not think that this note is necessary because this Egyptian Government will issue the judgment soon. There will also be fluctuations in the judgment which may occur after maintaining stability. I would like to say this in order to establish real confidence between Yemen and Egypt so as not to lose their mutual trust.

  • ايلين موسى

    2013-1-24

    O Lord, let the meetings and conferences lead to goodness and more cooperation between the two countries. I wish Egypt and Yemen the best of luck because the two countries are really suffering at the present time. Indeed, both nations have gone through a critical period following the revolution in two thousand and eleven. Thankfully, there was some progress. Nevertheless, Egypt has gone through some problems because of opposition. Likewise, Yemen was plagued by terrorism. However, we should not worry. There must be a way out. The relations between Egypt and Yemen have always been strong. God willing, they will cooperate to serve the interests of both nations. This is the right path! The commerce is very active. May Lord grant success to both Governments in serving their peoples! The memorandum of cooperation between the two countries will also serve the Yemeni citizen. The decision is meant to protect the Yemeni consumers since their authorities will examine the Egyptian goods and commodities which will flood the Yemeni markets. They will make sure that they conform to the specifications. This is a workable measure to prevent commercial fraud. Of course, trade will boost the Egyptian economy. Indeed, the Egyptian State would increase production, which means more job opportunities for the Egyptian jobless youth. May Allah help Yemen and Egypt to overcome the current crisis! Oh God, Amen.

  • صلاح رسلان

    2013-1-24

    The economic relations between the two countries have improved considerably over the past years. Still they need an integrated legal framework for the organization of their cooperation in all fields, especially economy and trade. The volume of Egyptian exports to Yemen amounted to 62.08 million dollars and the volume of imports reached 52.58 million.

  • يوسف العياط

    2013-1-24

    The acceleration to overcome the crisis requires economic cooperation among the Arab countries. As Egypt is the pillar and first supporter of the Arab world, it is in desperate need for their cooperation to serve the common interests.

  • وعد عبد الوهاب

    2013-1-24

    Egypt is in desperate need for investments to start various projects, increase exports to the Arab countries, and promote the skills of Egyptian workers to be recruited in Arab countries. This strategy would generate hard currency to Egypt banks through remittances of Egyptian expatriates.

  • كاظم خلف

    2013-1-24

    With all my respect to the honest people of Egypt – some Egyptians will remain the same- even though I am personally in favor of any treatment that does not violate the law.

  • لطيف شندل

    2013-1-24

    Yemen offers 20 college scholarships per annum which are exempt from fees for Egyptian students while Egypt provides 40 college scholarships in addition to 25 grants in the field of graduate studies which are exempt from fees.

  • حامد فوزي

    2013-1-24

    The educational cooperation between Egypt and Yemen has witnessed a growth during the last years under the convention on educational cooperation between the two countries.

  • عبد المجيد حازم

    2013-1-24

    In Yemen and Egypt, unlucky and failed people have gathered. May Allah be with both of these two countries. On the one hand, Yemen is full of terrorism and needs help to reconstruct the provinces which have been devastated by terrorism in addition to the budget deficit. Also, oppressed Yemenis are suffering from poverty. On the other hand, Egypt is not able to adjust its budget and does not know where it could obtain resources. Therefore, I honestly believe that in order to achieve renaissance in both of these two countries and make a considerable free economic expansion, they should conclude economic exchanges with some wealthy countries which could accommodate these exchanges. They should not look for help and call it trade. You should be aware that I am not pessimistic but I really want that Egypt and Yemen think appropriately so that businessmen from both countries will carry out investment exchanges given that they do not have money to spend on trade exchange or anything else. Thus, the agreements will be like the previous ones which relied only on words and visits and there are no such things as trade or anything else. For instance, if Egypt needs to buy parts or goods which it needs to promote its economy, is it going to deal with a country like Yemen or China? Thus, we have to think appropriately. If we talk about food and trade exchange in this respect, this will not be a kind of trade but meeting food needs. In this case, we will remain as underdeveloped and receive charities as if two persons are sitting around a table and inviting Egypt to eat. I personally think that this agreement is not useful, and please don’t get angry.