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U.S. Seeks Trade, Investment Role for Egypt in Transition

The United States is seeking greater investment and trade with countries undergoing major governmental transitions, starting with Egypt.

Following a meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Dr. Mahmoud Eisa, both countries endorsed an action plan designed to provide job opportunities for Egyptians while boosting exports, expanding investment and supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs). According to a joint statement, the U.S. will work with the private sector to promote investment in Egypt, provide expert technical assistance to buyers in the country and share best practices in SME support.

In essence, the U.S. is taking the opportunity presented by Egypt's regime change to build itself a stronger economic ally. Ambassador Kirk suggested that similar agreements could be sought with other countries in North Africa and the Middle East as well.

"In the wake of the extraordinary changes underway...we want to help Egypt empower individuals to make their own economic, as well as political, choices," he said. "Under President Obama's leadership, we are actively working to broaden and deepen commercial links with Egypt—and other countries in transition—because we are convinced trade and investment liberalization will help drive the economic growth that is so critical to Egypt's and the region's future."

While officials from both countries have yet to finalize the specific details of the plan, part of it will at the least include a pledge on the part of Egypt to assure the world of their commitment "to enhance the conditions for a dynamic economy, based on open markets, rule of law, innovation and full utilization of the talents and imagination of its people." In addition to increasing exports of goods, the U.S. will also aim to export "good regulatory practices" while protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer