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Egypt withdraws from international grain agreement

Египет излиза от международно споразумение за зърното

Last week, Cairo formally withdrew from a decade-old UN grain deal.

We recall that in 1995, Egypt joined 35 other countries that signed the trade agreement, which seeks to promote food security through commercial global free trade and exchange of information among member states.

But the membership fee for the signatories turns out to be extremely high for Egypt and is payable in foreign currency, which is an additional obstacle for the country. According to a source in the Ministry of Supply, the country pays up to US$600,000 a year to the convention.

"Although the signing and membership are nominally intended to help the supply of wheat to member states, especially in times of crisis, membership is actually a burden on Egypt at the moment, with no subsequent benefits for the country," he added.

The war between two of the world's biggest wheat-exporting countries has threatened Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, and its population of 100 million, who depend on the crop as a staple food.

"The impact of the Black Sea conflict on world trade has further exacerbated Egypt's persistent trade imbalance. The country was pushed further down into a prolonged economic spiral, prompting Cairo to withdraw from the 1995 International Agreement to preserve its scarce foreign exchange resources,” said Supply Minister Ali al-Moselhi.

Ali al-Idrisi, deputy director of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Strategic Studies, told Sky News that Egypt, which relies mainly on grain imports from Russia, has not found adequate provision for its wheat needs under this agreement, as the UN complies with the economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

The country's decision comes at a difficult time for global grain trade, which continues to record new declines. A few days ago, the FAO cereal price index fell by 2.1% in June on a monthly basis.

International coarse grain futures fell 3.4 percent in June, led mostly by increased corn supplies from the current harvests in Argentina and Brazil, as well as an improved outlook for production in key U.S. production areas, the organization said.

International wheat prices fell 1.3% as harvest began in the Northern Hemisphere, boosted by ample supplies and a lower export tax in the Russian Federation, along with improved conditions in the US.

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