Note: EAC countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) are all members of either COMESA or SADC.
Egypt is party to the Agadir Agreement, the COMESA Agreement, the EFTA, the European Union-Egypt
Association Agreement, GAFTA and Mercosur, as well as numerous bilateral trade agreements with individual
The Egypt-EU Partnership
- Egypt and the EU signed the Association Agreement treaty in 2001, which came into force in 2004.
Also referred to as the Partnership Agreement, this will establish a free trade area by 2016, following
a 12-year transitional period.
- All goods exported from Egypt to the EU are exempt from tariffs.
- EU export tariffs will gradually be dismantled over the 12-year period.
- Agricultural goods and agricultural processed goods will be treated according to certain quotas for
specific goods with tariff privileges and certain market windows for exportation from Egypt.
- While the value-added criteria set in the EU can be as high as 75% for sensitive products such as textiles
and apparel, U.S. companies can benefit in certain sectors, such as agriculture and processed foods,
where Egypt faces substantially lower tariffs on exports.
- Local component requirements (a minimum of 60% from Egypt or the EU) for the rules of origin under
Mediterranean countries also allow for the use of inputs from third countries (diagonal accumulation of
origin) for the remaining content.
The GAFTA Agreement
- Egypt entered the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) trading bloc, also referred to as the Pan Arab
Free Trade Area (PAFTA), in 1998. As of 2005, all 18 GAFTA members are exempt from all customs
duties and charges between the Arab countries.
- GAFTA countries are currently engaged in negotiations to liberalize services and investments (with the
exception of Sudan and Yemen).
- The percentage of value-added required to confer origin is 40% of the ex-factory cost. Local labor is
counted as added value, and Egyptian assembly of U.S. parts constitutes transformation to meet the
origin requirements under GAFTA.
- Local component requirements under the GAFTA rules of origin also allow for the use of inputs from all
other members (diagonal accumulation of origin).
- In 2014, GAFTA countries combined had an annual GDP of around USD 2.8 trillion and a population
of around 361 million people.
The Tripartite African Free Trade Area (TAFTA)
- The Tripartite African Free Trade Area (TAFTA) was launched in June 2015 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt,
to create a free trade area among members of COMESA, EAC and SADC, stretching geographically
from Cairo to Cape Town.
- TAFTA gives Egypt access to seven additional African nations along with the 18 other countries of
COMESA to which Egypt has been a signatory since 1998.
- The 26 TAFTA countries combined account for 58% of Africa‚Äôs GDP (USD 1.3 trillion in 2014) and
57% of its total population (632 million) and will open new markets for Egyptian engineering products,
textiles, chemicals, furniture, and agricultural products.
- TAFTA is scheduled to come fully into force in 2017 to allow for gradual tariff alignments by member
states before trade in goods becomes totally free.
(Updated July 2015)