A delegation comprising 34 representatives of US companies and members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt arrived in Washington DC on Sunday to start the annual “Door Knock” in Washington, led by chamber president Anis Aclimandos.
The delegation aims to meet officials and policy makers from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the US State Department, as well as investors and executives of large US companies, according to Aclimandos.
“We are looking to conduct meetings with American officials and investors and companies to present a positive image of the developments in Egypt during the past period and of future steps,” said Aclimandos.
Chamber members and delegates met with several Egyptian ministers before their trip to receive updates on the economic, financial, monetary and investment-related reforms in the coming period, Aclimandos said.
The delegates were also briefed on the official positions on issues concerning Egypt and the US that have been the subject of controversy lately, such as the state of NGOs, the entitlements owed to some foreign companies and the issue of the peacekeeping forces.
Among the most pressing issues, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil in his meeting with the delegates before their departure, is Egypt’s effort to increase its merchandise exports to the American market by removing obstacles limiting the entry of these products, especially agricultural products and textiles.
He also mentioned the removal of obstacles related to air freight, while meeting Egypt’s demands related to the QIZ agreement, including the reduction of the foreign component from 10.5 to 8 percent and the inclusion of new geographical areas and products in the agreement.
The visit comes after another important trip to DC in January by officials from the industry and finance ministries and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones. The visit aimed to activate the TiVA agreement between Cairo and Washington and to allow the entry of citrus fruits and other agricultural products into the US market.
“This mission comes at a crucial time; the run-up to the US presidential election, which is witnessing fierce competition between the Republican and Democratic parties, and which puts the mission as one of the most important axes of discussion with the American side,” said Omar Mohanna, head of the Egypt-US Business Council.
The mission is particularly important this year as it falls near the end of US President Barack Obama’s term in office and at the conclusion of the Egyptian post-revolution political roadmap with the election of a new parliament, as well as after significant developments in Syria and Libya in recent days that affect Egypt.
The visit also comes days after the Saudi King Salman’s visit to Egypt and after the announcement of the formation of an African counter-terrorism unit in Cairo.
Egypt is an acting member of the United Nations Security Council.