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Egyptian companies benefit from rising GCC food imports

Leading food and hospitality companies in Egypt are set to gather in Dubai from 24-27 February for Gulfood 2008, looking to capitalize upon major opportunities being created in the region’s booming food, drink and hospitality industry.

Egyptian participation at Gulfood 2008, one of the world’s leading food, drink, foodservice and hospitality equipment exhibitions has grown steadily as an increasing number of Egyptian food exporters seek to extend their market presence in a wide variety of produce areas. As a vital part of the country’s economy, Egypt’s food and drink industry is a dynamic economic force, contributing greatly to employment and to the country’s total exports, which according to the Egyptian Export Promotion Center are currently valued at $1 billion.

At a major press briefing in Cairo on Wednesday, exhibition organizer Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) stated that GCC food imports alone have already exceed $12 billion, creating a multitude of trade and commercial opportunities for strong agricultural markets such as Egypt. As one of the leading event organizers in the Middle East, DWTC has been actively working to facilitate increased participation from Egyptian companies and today’s event was part of its annual road-show to Egypt to promote Gulfood 2008. The success of Gulfood derives not only from its massive base of exhibitors. In addition, visitor attendance from 140 countries last year ensured that business was conducted on a global scale. DWTC works closely with organizations like the US Agricultural Trade Office (USATO), who have an extensive network of buyers throughout the Middle East, to bring qualified trade visitors to Dubai.

The Cairo-based USATO office will assist a delegation of Egyptian buyers to visit Gulfood, where they can source thousands of food and foodservice products, plus visit the largest US food pavilion in the region. “Gulfood provides the perfect platform for US food products to be seen, tasted, and purchased by Egypt’s top buyers,” said Salah Mansour of the USATO in Cairo. With an estimated reach of over 2 billion consumers, Gulfood is set to boost trade between Egypt and a number of large consumer markets across the GCC and beyond, which rely heavily on imports. The UAE alone is a major food market, importing over $3 billion in food imports annually with its foodservice market growing at over 10% in 2006. Playing an important role within the Egyptian economy, the food and hospitality industry is increasingly instrumental for achieving the country’s long-term goals. As the second largest economy in the Middle East with a strong food production capacity, Egypt is well placed to cater to the UAE market.

Gulfood 2008 is set to welcome more than 2,500 companies from 70 countries who specialize in the food, drink and hospitality sector. Building on the large international presence at this year’s show, over 86% of these leading suppliers are from outside of the UAE. The global scope of Gulfood this year will also be reinforced by the number of new country pavilions making their debut this year, including Ecuador, Hungary, Lithuania, Malawi, Northern Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and Uruguay.

The 13th Gulfood Exhibition, organized by Dubai World Trade Centre, will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center from 24-27 February 2008. Gulfood & Restaurant & café Middle East are strictly trade-only events and are open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only, proof of which must be provided at registration. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be allowed into the exhibitions. (press release)