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Egypt

Under George Bush’s administration, in 2003, the US Trade Representative is said to have ’punished’ Egypt by suspending all overtures towards an FTA when Egypt withdrew its support for a US dispute against the European Union on trade in genetically modified crops at the WTO. This lasted until late 2004, when the overtures started picking up again. However, the US froze FTA talks after allegations of fraud and corruption surrounding Egypt’s December 2005 elections and they have not restarted since.

In the meantime, the US brokered a deal between Egypt and Israel to set up a ’qualifying industrial zone’ between the two countries, which angered both Egyptians and Arab neighbours. In 2009, under Obama’s administration, US and Egyptian trade officials signed a Plan for a Strategic Partnership which pledged to follow “a program of intensified U.S.-Egyptian cooperation on economic, trade, and investment issues”. But there have been no substantive moves towards negotiating a bilateral FTA between the two countries.

The European Union has had a preferential trade agreement with Egypt since 2001, which it hopes to upgrade in the process of achieving a fullblown EU-Mediterranean FTA.

Egypt signed a bilateral FTA with Turkey in December 2005, and another with EFTA in 2007. In 2010 it signed an FTA with Mercosur. Regionally, it is party to the Agadir Agreement, GAFTA and COMESA. Cairo is currently negotiating or considering FTAs with Russia, India and Indonesia.

last update: May 2012


The quest for the holy grail
The push is on once again to secure an Egypt-US free trade agreement (FTA) with the usual optimism in the state press, but few are buying it this time.
New session of talks to set up FTA with Turkey
Egypt and Turkey agreed yesterday to discuss mechanisms to promote trade and investment cooperation between them, said Foreign Trade Ministry Under-Secretary Sharqawi Hefni on yesterday.
Egyptians protest trade accord with Israel
Scores of Egyptians protested across the country on Tuesday against the signing of a strategic trade and industry accord between Egypt and Israel, slamming the agreement as a form of colonialism.
Egypt-Israel-US trade pact sparks demonstrations
As the first Arab nation, the government of Egypt yesterday signed a trade pact with its neighbour Israel that will help breaking the latter’s economic isolation. After the controversial trade agreement was made known, demonstrations broke out throughout the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Signing of Qualified Industrial Zones Agreement (QIZ)
On December 14, Israel, Egypt and the United States will sign the agreement leading to the establishment of Qualified Industrial Zones in Cairo, Egypt.
Egypt, Israel sign deal on free trade with US
Egypt and Israel will sign a joint free-trade agreement with the United States in Cairo today
Egypt, Israel, US sign partial free trade deal
The agreement on Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) opens the US market to goods produced in Egypt with Israeli inputs, promises jobs for Egyptians while offering Israel a symbolic economic foothold in the largest Arab nation.
EU-Egypt: Exporters See Gains in EU Partnership
A trade agreement between Egypt and the European Union has opened new markets to exporters and paved the way towards the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone.