Saudi cement producers want to export to Egypt

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Saudi Arabia’s cement producers have again asked the government to lift a three-year-old ban on their exports so they can supply Egypt with six million tonnes of cement, the chairman of the Gulf Kingdom’s cement makers was quoted on Wednesday as saying.

“We are ready to export six million tonnes of our cement surplus to Egypt following the signing of large contracts between that country and global companies this week,” Jihad Al-Rasheed, chairman of the national cement committee in the council of Saudi chambers of commerce and industry, told the Saudi Arabic language daily Al-Riyadh.

He said it was time for Saudi authorities to lift the export ban after the emergence of “golden” opportunities for the country’s cement manufacturers to export their products to nearby Qatar which needs large quantities of building materials for the planned play fields and other sport facilities for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He added that other key markets which need Saudi cement include Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, Yemen and Ethiopia.

“Some Saudi cement plants were constructed in border areas with the aim of exporting their products to neighboring countries but the export ban has inflicted heavy losses on them and could also force them to lay off workers,” he said.

Al-Rasheed said cement firms in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, are trying to reduce a surplus of more than 20 million tonnes by supplying domestic projects.

But he added:”Most of the local government and private sector projects now have sufficient cement supplies…we want the Saudi government to lift the ban on cement exports in line with international trade rules.”

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab cement producer, partially lifted the cement export ban in 2009 before enforcing it again in 2012 to ensure enough supplies for domestic projects.

According to Al-Rasheed, cement demand in Saudi Arabia stood at around 57.2 million tonnes in 2014 and is projected to grow to nearly 59.5 million tonnes in 2015.

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