Russia and Egypt may replace the U.S. dollar with their national currencies for settlement of accounts in bilateral trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Egyptian media ahead of his visit to the country on Monday.
Putin told Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily newspaper that the issue of excluding the dollar in bilateral trade between Moscow and Cairo is “being actively discussed,” especially because the tourist season in Egypt is about to begin. According to the Russian leader, the use of national currencies -- ruble and Egyptian pound -- in settlement of accounts will help create more favorable conditions for Russian citizens who annually spend their holidays in Egypt.
“This measure will open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation between our countries, reduce its dependence on the current trends in the world markets,” Putin told Al-Ahram, according to Kremlin. “I should note that we already use national currencies for trade with a number of the CIS States, and China. This practice proves its worth; we are ready to adopt it in our relations with Egypt as well. This issue is being discussed in substance by relevant agencies of both countries.”
According to Putin, the volume of bilateral trade between Moscow and Cairo in 2014 amounted to more than $4.5 billion, an increase of nearly 50 percent compared to the previous year. Russia provides about 40 percent of grain consumed in Egypt, while Cairo exports large amounts of fruit and vegetables to Moscow, he added.
“We see promising prospects in the field of high technology, particularly in the areas of nuclear energy, outer space use and sharing of the Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system,” Putin said.
Russia has also been pushing for a switch to national currencies in mutual payments with others countries, including China, India, Thailand and Turkey, RIA Novosti reported.
In September last year, Russia and China reportedly vowed to settle more bilateral trade in ruble and yuan, and improve cooperation between banks. In October, the two countries signed a three-year currency-swap line of 150 billion yuan ($24 billion), allowing Russia to borrow the yuan and lend the ruble, Bloomberg reported.