Sisi calls for US-Egypt free trade zone in mtg with US Chamber of Commerce

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Sep 2017

President Sisi at Luncheon with US business leaders in NYC on 18 September 2017 (Photo courtesy of Egyptian presidency)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attended a luncheon organised by the United States’ Chamber of Commerce and the US-Egypt Business Council in New York on Monday, where he advocated a free trade agreement between the two countries.

According to El-Sisi’s office, the president met with a number of US businessmen from different sectors and expressed his appreciation for the role played by the Chamber of Commerce and the business council in supporting economic and commercial relations between Egypt and the United States.

In his address at the luncheon, El-Sisi told the attendees that economic relations between the two countries are an important pillar in the strategic relationship, and that Egypt was looking forward to strengthening those relations.

He also advocated a free trade agreement between the two countries as it would lead to an increase in trade.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the stock of US direct investment in Egypt stood at $22.6 billion in 2016, representing 35.4 percent of US direct investment in Africa and 46.2 percent of US direct investment in the Middle East.

As of 2016, Egypt became the largest recipient of US foreign direct investment in Africa and the second in the MENA region after the UAE.

Myron Brilliant, the executive vice-president and the head of international affairs at the Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the attendees, praising the Egyptian government’s recent economic reforms and the economic delegations to Egypt organised by the chamber.

He said the chamber has formed a taskforce to organise an investment forum in Egypt, to show American companies the investment opportunities in the country.

The luncheon was attended by a number of Egyptian officials, including Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr.

Also on Monday, El-Sisi attended a dinner at the Business Council for International Understanding, an NGO that aims to expand international trade and commerce through dialogues between governments and businessmen.

He also expressed how he looked forward to having American companies increase their activities in Egypt, especially as the Egyptian market is large.

El-Sisi is currently in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly. He will address the UNGA on Tuesday.

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