Sudan’s cabinet has renewed a total ban imposed last March on the import of agricultural and animal products from Egypt, the state news agency SUNA announced yesterday.
The cabinet has also directed the private sector to import products directly from countries of origin in order to bypass Egypt but did not specify on its official website the reasons for the decision. However, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said Cairo was told the decision was due to “a technical procedure”.
In March, Sudan ordered the banning of agricultural produce from Egypt following fears about its safety, edibility and quality. Sudan’s cabinet confirmed in a statement published after consultations with a special technical committee that the Prime Minister, Hassan Saleh, had signed a directive confirming the ban on Egyptian agricultural goods and products that had been transported through Egypt and were awaiting custom’s clearance.
The Sudanese prime minister warned four products, namely: milk, sugar, tea and oil, which had originated from other countries by arrived via Egypt would be subject to the Council of Minister’s decree.
The decision has meant that some foreign firms have been inadvertently affected. Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia’s Savola company, which imports raw Brazilian sugar and refines it in Egypt for export, has been forced to halt trading to Sudan.
Sudan imported about $591 million worth of goods from Egypt in 2016, most of which were food items such as vegetables, fruit and biscuits, Ahmed Hamid, director at Sudan’s Ministry of International Cooperation, confirmed.
The decision is expected to further fuel tensions between Egypt and Sudan over issues ranging from a land dispute to accusations made by Sudan last week accusing Egypt of supporting rebels who are fighting to overthrow the government in Khartoum. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has rejected the accusations.