Cairo and Alexandria are the most important commercial centers. Virtually all importers, exporters, and wholesalers have offices in one or both of these cities. Egypt's retail trade is dominated by a large number of small privately-owned shops and vendors. Government cooperatives with hundreds of outlets also combine wholesale and retail activities. The principal retail centers have general and specialized stores as well as large bazaars. Smaller bazaars and open markets are found in the towns and villages. There are large wholesaling markets for meat and produce in Cairo, Alexandria, and Mansoura. The franchising of fast food restaurants and retail chains continues to grow quickly, with both American and Egyptian based companies holding franchises.
Though most of farms are privately owned, manufacturing is largely controlled by the public sector. Domestic industries include textiles (especially in cotton), food processing, and vehicle assembly. In 2000, about 49% of the work force was employed in the service sector.
Usual business hours are from 9 AM to 2 PM and from 5 to 8 PM ; Sunday through Thursday. Friday is the weekly day of rest. While the official language is Arabic, commercial firms frequently employ English or French for business correspondence. Haggling is a standard business process for determining a fair price for goods and services in Egypt, in Arabic, "momarsa" (auction). The Cairo International Trade Fair, held every spring, has been an important promotional event for a number of years.