Cairo, Khartoum – Most officials in the Egyptian administration have remained silent on Sudan’s recent decision to ban the import of Egyptian agricultural and animal products, and the economic losses it caused.
But an Egyptian official at one of the country’s ministries told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the government and foreign ministry are dealing with the matter calmly.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour might visit Cairo on Saturday, the official, who refused to be identified, said, adding that the trip could have positive consequences on all pending issues.
“The Sudanese decision is political … So it should be resolved politically,” the official told the daily.
According to the Egyptian ministry of trade and industry, trade between Egypt and Sudan amounts to $2 billion annually.
Egyptian exports to Sudan primarily comprise of fruit, vegetables, fish, canned food and textiles.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh issued on Tuesday the order banning Egyptian agricultural and animal products, and importing of seeds from Egypt.
The order also bans Sudanese businessmen from using Egyptian territories for importing goods into Sudan.
Saleh urged the private sector to import products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt, its neighbor to the north.
Sudan first banned Egyptian agricultural imports in September, citing health concerns. It later expanded the ban.
According to Egyptian traders and businessmen, the ban hasn’t had a huge impact as pictured by some parties. The majority of products sent from Egypt to Sudan are originally imported, they said.
As for the agricultural products included in the ban, they are few, and could be consumed locally, the traders said.
However, sugar and oil exports will be the most affected because they are produced in Egypt and sent to Sudan in huge quantities, they added.