US, Egypt aim to bolster trade and investment ties

Dow Jones Newswires | 28 May 2009

US, Egypt Aim To Bolster Trade and Investment Ties

By Judith Burns, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- U.S. and Egyptian officials signed agreements Wednesday aimed at strengthening trade and investment links between the two nations, a move that comes a week ahead of a trip to Egypt by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama plans to discuss U.S. relations with the Muslim world in a June 4 speech in Egypt, where Muslims account for about 95% of the population. In advance of Obama’s visit, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Egypt Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid signed an agreement to develop a framework within 90 days for cooperating on trade and investment matters.

"We are essentially unleashing our staffs to work together very quickly over the next several months and bring us back a road map for how we go forward," Kirk said at a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. For his part, Rachid said he’s optimistic that the new strategic partnership agreement will encourage fresh, creative ideas on expanding U.S.-Egyptian trade and economic ties.

Egypt also signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday with the Council on Competitiveness, a private U.S. organization, intended to foster partnerships in areas such as agriculture, consumer goods, shipping, and technology.

Council on Competitiveness President Deborah Wince-Smith suggested the alliance might look at ways to revamp economic statistics, saying that "we’re not telling the whole story" about the value of premium products, including Egyptian cotton.

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source: Dow Jones