Egypt says Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE to lift ban on its agriculture exports

Above, Egyptians shop at a vegetable market in Cairo. Egypt’s agricultural export season runs from September through August. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Egypt says Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE to lift ban on its agriculture exports

CAIRO: Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE have agreed to lift a ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products, Egypt said on Sunday, as the country works to step up exports to narrow its budget deficit.
The agreement came after a series of meetings and negotiations held between an Egyptian delegation and the Gulf countries, the Egyptian agriculture ministry said in a statement.
The series of bans, which were said to have been on concerns over pesticide residues, had come at a time where there was an increased appetite for Egyptian exports resulting from a currency float that slashed the pound’s value in half last year.
The three Gulf countries had banned various agricultural imports from Egypt, including pepper, lettuce and onion, earlier this year.
Egypt has asked an agricultural quarantine body to advise on shipments and warn of exporters who violate agreed-upon international standards, the statement said.
It said that counterpart bodies will also be appointed abroad to monitor the quality of exports on the other end and that the ministry is currently negotiating that exporters who violate the rules be punished instead of countries of origin.
Egypt’s agricultural exports rose 13.9 percent during the first nine months of 2017, reaching 4.1 million tons compared to 3.6 million last year.
“A ban on Egyptian strawberries imposed by Saudi Arabia was also lifted about a month ago after a Saudi delegation visited Cairo,” agriculture ministry spokesman Hamid Abdel Dayem said on Sunday.
The kingdom had imposed a ban on Egyptian strawberries also over pesticide residues in July. Sudan is yet to lift a blanket ban on Egyptian agricultural and animal imports it imposed in May.
Egypt’s agricultural export season runs from September through August.


Two US airlines cut China routes as Beijing rivals turn up heat

Updated 14 min 34 sec ago
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Two US airlines cut China routes as Beijing rivals turn up heat

  • ‘The two China routes ... have been colossal loss makers for us’
  • Chinese passengers arriving at US airports are expected to nearly triple to 12.8 million in 2024 from 4.3 million this year

DENVER/SHANGHAI: Two US airlines on Tuesday cut routes between China and the US, underscoring increasingly tough competition from state-backed Chinese rivals as they aggressively expand their fleets with cut-price tickets.
American Airlines, the largest US carrier by passengers, said it would drop a route between Chicago and Shanghai, canceling the second direct flight from the US city to China in four months. It had canceled a flight to Beijing in May, although it still operates daily flights to the capital from Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
“The two China routes ... have been colossal loss makers for us,” said Vasu Raja, vice president of network and schedule planning, adding that high fuel costs had also made the route unsustainable.
Hawaiian Airlines said it would from October suspend its thrice-weekly nonstop service between Honolulu and Beijing, which it opened in 2014, citing slower-than-expected growth in demand.
Competition from Chinese airlines is expected to grow with the anticipated easing of China’s near-decade-old “one route, one airline” policy, which would allow more local airlines to fly long-haul international routes.
“US airlines are at a severe disadvantage,” said Mike Boyd, president of aviation forecaster Boyd Group. “The majority of demand is China-generated, and that gives Chinese carriers the advantage.”
Chinese passengers arriving at US airports are expected to nearly triple to 12.8 million in 2024 from 4.3 million this year, and the profile is shifting from groups to independent travelers, according to Boyd Group.
United Airlines President Scott Kirby said Shanghai and Beijing had rebounded for the airline after several years of weakness, although revenue per available seat mile (RASM) was below levels of two or three years ago.
“We’ve had several years of weakness as there was an awful lot of capacity growth out of Beijing and Shanghai,” Kirby said on the sidelines of the International Aviation Forecast Summit in Denver.
American and Hawaiian said the route cancelations were unrelated to demands placed by China’s civil aviation regulator on foreign airlines to amend the way they referred to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan on their websites.
Chinese state media had earlier this month singled out the two companies and other US airlines as being among the last firms to comply with China’s demands.
“That issue of how Taiwan was displayed on our website had absolutely zero impact on this decision,” Hawaiian’s chief executive, Peter Ingram, said. “Our economic evaluation was well underway long before that issue arose.”