Selling Factors/Techniques in Egypt

An Expert's View about Business Practices in Egypt

Last updated: 13 Mar 2011

Egyptians with whom an American will deal in business are often trilingual (English- French-Arabic), well-traveled individuals who pride themselves on ferreting out good deals at decent prices. Mid-level government officials with whom a foreigner may deal may be less sophisticated and less well traveled, but no less able to negotiate.


Negotiations for a sale, whether with a government agency or a private individual, will be bound by certain unspoken Egyptian cultural requirements. One is that there is no final best price that cannot be reduced further by negotiating. A corollary is that only a neophyte would offer one's best price, or anything close to it, early in negotiations. Government employees are judged on their ability to squeeze the final penny from the lowest bidder. This happens repeatedly, at every level of decision-making, and is the Egyptian version of the "Dutch auction", called in Arabic "momarsa". Momarsas have been popular because they give Egyptian officials the appearance of trying to get the best deal for Egypt, and they reduce charges of cronyism.


The Commercial Service in Egypt publishes a Directory of U.S. Businesses in Egypt. The directory lists U.S. companies with offices and representatives in Egypt, as well as the Egyptian representatives and agents.



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Posted: 08 June 2010, last updated 13 March 2011

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