An Egyptian delegation to the Ukraine has said that it hoped to sign a five-year deal on the import of Ukrainian grain, sugar and vegetable oil in exchange for Egyptian products.

“We hope to sign an agreement on Wednesday… on the import of grain, vegetable oil, sugar and other commodities,” Hassan Khidr, supply and internal trade minister, told Reuters after his first meeting with Ukrainian officials and traders.

Ukrainian officials, who are also looking to sign the deal this week, said they doubted whether an Egyptian proposal to secure an equal level of trade between the two countries could happen overnight.

“The agreement must be realistic. We cannot balance our trade with Egypt just like that because our exports to Egypt totalled US$210m in 2002 while our imports stood at about $11m,” said Volodymyr Bezruchenko, a deputy economy minister.

The Ukraine is hoping to secure new export markets, such as Egypt and Brazil, to absorb its increased exports after it faced being pushed out of the EU market by a global 2.9 million tonnes wheat import quota.

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