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China Exclusive: Sino-Egyptian economic zone attracts more investment

Source:   Time:

TIANJIN, May 18 (Xinhua) -- To boost investment in a Sino-Egyptian joint industrial zone, three large Chinese companies will start production there this year.

The three firms, Jushi Egypt Fiberglass Industry, XD High Voltage Equipment Company and Muyang Egypt Industry, will bring a total investment of more than 400 million U.S. dollars this year, said Liu Aimin, general manager of China-Africa TEDA Investment Co, Ltd.

The China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, located near the Suez Canal, attracted 49 companies with contracted investment totaling 524 million U.S. dollars by the end of 2012.

"Despite the impact of social unrest in Egypt and the European debt crisis, the zone's gross industrial output reached 55 million U.S. dollars in 2012, up 20 percent year on year," said Liu.

By the end of 2012, a 1.34-square-km starting area had been fully developed, creating more than 1,000 jobs for local workers and generating more than 50 million U.S. dollars in taxes for the Egyptian side over the past five years.

An agreement on another 6-square-km expansion area for the zone was signed between the two sides in late April. The land will be developed in three phases over a five-year period, with a total construction investment of 500 million U.S. dollars.

Upon completion, the expanded area will attract 150 to 180 companies and total investment of more than 2 billion U.S. dollars, as well as create 40,000 jobs, according to Liu.

"The Egyptian government expects the cooperation zone to become the best in Africa. This is both a challenge and encouragement," Liu added.

Liu said the zone will also court foreign investment to handle future international risks.

In November 2006, China pledged to establish three to five trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

The Sino-Egyptian economic zone was part of these efforts. Construction on the zone began in 2008, and major investors include TEDA Investment Holding Co., Ltd in north China's Tianjin and the China-Africa Development Fund.

During a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi in Durban, South Africa, in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for advancing bilateral cooperation in key areas such as trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges, and for efforts from both sides to ensure the success of the Suez trade cooperation project.

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