Preparing to export

Consultation and bespoke research

Visit: for guidance on how to research overseas markets as well as a range of other important issues for exporters.

Researching the Egyptian market

Egypt is a large country, and different regions will have different industry clusters. Good local research is needed and you should consider regional plans and market-entry requirements using both desk research and market visits.

You need to determine whether:

  • there is a market for your product or service

  • your pricing is competitive

  • to adapt your business model

The questions listed here should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest a way forward that is right for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal Egypt strategy, although this may not be necessary or appropriate for all companies:

Your aims:

  • Do you wish to buy from Egypt, sell to Egypt or both?

  • Do you wish to establish your own company presence in Egypt (for example setting up your own branch office, forming a joint stock or Limited Liability Company, or direct sales, appointing a local agent, online selling, licensing or franchising)?

  • Do you need to be involved in Egypt at all?

  • Do you see Egypt as part of a wider plan including e.g. other Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) markets now or in the future?

Your company:

  • Can you carry out a detailed SWOT analysis of your company?

  • Are your competitors already in Egypt? If so, what are they doing?

  • Can you carry out a detailed SWOT analysis of your competitors?

  • What are the Unique Selling Points of your product or service?

  • Do you know if there is a market for your product or service in Egypt?

  • Do you know if you can be competitive in Egypt?

  • Do you have the time and resources to handle e.g. the demands of communication, travel, product delivery and after-sales service?

Your knowledge:

  • Do you know how to secure payment for your products or service?

  • Do you know where in Egypt you should start?

  • Do you know how to locate and screen potential partners, agents or distributors?

  • Have you carried out any Egypt-specific customer segmentation, and do you know how to best reach potential customers in-market?

It is unlikely that you will have the answers to all these questions at the outset and these ‘knowledge gaps’ could form the basis for further research and investigation. Some of these questions will require quantitative research in your sector, while others involve more-contextual and cultural considerations.

Talking to other people in your industry and regularly visiting Egypt will give you access to the most-current advice and such experience can often lead to new insights and form the basis for further research.

There is also some useful guidance on developing a marketing strategy, customer segmentation, competitor and SWOT analysis etc. on the site – and the IOE&IT and British Chamber can help too.

There may be trade shows held in Egypt each year, which could be useful to test product viability in the market. The Department for International Trade (DIT) Tradeshow Access Programme at: provides funding in the form of grants for eligible businesses to attend overseas trade shows.

The funding helps your business gain:

  • market knowledge

  • experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows

  • advice and support from trade experts

Visit the DIT events portal at: to find upcoming events and missions in Egypt.

Find out more about marketing your goods and services for Egypt at:

Contact DIT in Egypt at: for events and company launches at British Embassy locations.


Start-up considerations

Visit: for guidance on how to research overseas markets as well as a range of other important issues for exporters.

Getting started in the Egyptian market

There are several ways you can do business in Egypt. The most common are:

  • appoint a local partner, distributor or agent

  • set up your own branch office in Egypt

  • form a joint stock or Limited Liability Company

You should seek legal advice as the tax and legal obligations of each business structure can differ.

A local lawyer can help you to avoid costly mistakes and ensure you start out in the way that is best suited to your sector of activity. See: for a list of lawyers in Egypt.

You should conduct due diligence checks once you have chosen your method of entry into the market. However, if you want to establish a business relationship that goes beyond exporting, you will need to carry out further research.

Direct exports and sales

Direct exports means you supply your products direct to the customer. You handle all the logistics of marketing, selling, sending overseas and getting paid.

You may wish to use local representation. Options include using an agent, distributor or wholesaler.

The DIT’s trade specialists at: can help you identify local representatives for your products in Egypt.

Appointing an agent, distributor or importer

A foreign company will often appoint one or more agents or distributors. They can keep track of market regulations, which can change at short notice. You should spend time taking local advice and assessing a range of potential agents before making a choice. Beware of agents promoting similar or identical products. DIT in Egypt can help you identify and meet potential agents and distributors. See:

Online selling

Find out about DIT’s E-Exporting programme at:, which can help you export your products to Egypt.

Check out online marketplaces in Egypt at:, where DIT has negotiated listings at better-than-commercial rates.


Franchising is developing extensively in Egypt, and is one of the most successful mechanisms for entrepreneurship.

The Egyptian Franchise Development Association (EFDA) represents and serves the franchise industry in Egypt, and sponsors a major franchise show (MIFE) every year in the spring or early summer. In 2018 it took place on 10th -12th May.

See: for further information and advice on franchise opportunities in Egypt, and for details of the next MIFE show.

Contact DIT in Cairo at: for advice, or for help to find a legal adviser in Egypt.

Visit the international section of the British Franchise Association at: for more information on franchising.


Financial considerations

Getting finance to fulfil an export contract to Egypt

Globally, Egypt ranks 90th out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s “Doing Business – Ease of Getting Credit” Report 2017-18. See:

To make it easier to fulfil an export contract and grow your business, schemes are available to UK companies selling products and services to Egypt. Contact your bank or specialist financial organisation for assistance.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has significant risk capacity to support exports to Egypt. See: You can contact one of UKEF’s export finance advisers at: for free and impartial advice on your finance options.

Getting paid

You may wish to talk to a specialist about finance, including how to get paid in Egypt. This could be a bank, an accountant or you can contact DIT in Egypt at: for help to find a financial adviser in Egypt.

Payment risks

UK Export Finance (UKEF) helps UK companies to get paid by insuring against buyer default.

Be confident you will get paid for your export contract. Speak to one of UKEF’s export finance advisers at: for free and impartial advice on your insurance options, or contact one of UKEF’s approved export insurance brokers at:

Currency risks when exporting to Egypt

If you have not fixed your exchange rate you have not fixed your price.

You should consider whether the best option for you is to agree terms in Sterling (GBP) or Egyptian Pounds (LE) in any contract. You should also consider getting expert financial advice on exchange rates (sometimes called FX).

[Source – DIT/UKEF/]


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