Chinese domination of marble industry raises hackles

Almost 90 percent of Egypt’s marble factories have gone out of business due to Chinese dominance of the industry, Mahfouz Haddad, head of the Egyptian Marble and Granite Export Council, said.

According to Haddad, the Chinese use antiquated machines to locally produce low-quality marble, much of it not up to Egyptian standards. Their production costs, therefore, are 30 to 40 percent less than those of their competitors, allowing Chinese manufacturers to sell it on the local market at much cheaper prices.

"The Chinese also dictate terms to the marble quarries, meaning they control both ends of the industry," he said. "Soon they’ll be controlling our marble exports as well."

Haddad pointed out that the council had sent a memo to the Trade Ministry in which it urged the ministry to take appropriate steps to halt "Chinese encroachment on Egyptian industry."

Yasser Rashed, head of the council’s quarries department, explained that Chinese manufacturers frequently rent local quarries for five-year periods, often paying their owners in advance. "They offer as much as LE100,000 a year in rent, which quarry owners find hard to resist," he explained.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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