Two new governorates in Upper Egypt have been added to the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) agreement which grants participating Egyptian manufacturers duty free access to the US markets provided that they satisfy an agreed upon Israeli component.
Beni Suef and Minya governorates are the latest additions bringing the total number of participating governorates to sixteen out of twenty seven.
"We cannot accurately quantify the impact of the new additions, but we are expecting a sizeable increase in QIZ exports," said Mohamed Qassem, head of the Readymade Garments Export Council and owner of a firm participating in QIZ.
The two governorates were added to the agreement after securing the joint agreement of all parties to the Protocol.
In recent weeks, the Egyptian government has been seeking to reduce the stipulated Israeli content requirement from 10.5 per cent to 8 per cent.
Companies participating in QIZ have exported goods worth a total $931 million in 2011 and imported a total $97.5 million.
Since the agreement was signed in 2004, the total value of Egypt's exports has increased steadily, current totaling $5 billion.