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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


US designates new Qualifying Industrial Zone in Egypt
United States trade representative Rob Portman designated on Monday a new Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) in Egypt and approved the expansion of two existing zones.
Egypt, Israel enhance US free trade accord
Egypt and Israel have agreed to expand the scope of an agreement which allows Egypt to export products containing a quota of Israeli components to the United States free of customs duties.
Egypt, Russia to negotiate free trade deal
Egypt and Russia will reportedly start negotiations next month with a view to reaching a free trade agreement.
Intensive talks to solve disagreement over free trade agreement
Intensive talks between Egypt and the USA, especially on intellectual property, are currently take place as a preliminary step toward concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
Made for the USA
Nine months into the first experiment in free trade with the United States, few participating manufacturers have reported a jump in production - most haven’t shipped unit one.
US Congress to address draft of Egyptian-US free trade agreement
The US Administration will put forward the draft to the Egyptian-US free trade agreement to the Congress by the end of the current year, Egypt’s Foreign Trade and Industry Minister Rashid Mohamed Rashid said.
On track for an FTA
The prospects for an Egypt-US free trade agreement came into question last week with US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick’s visit to Cairo.
Talking Turkey
After seven years of negotiations carried out in fits and spurts - and the near-death of talks under the previous government of Atef Ebeid - Turkey and Egypt are finally set to sign a free trade agreement in the coming two months.
Don’t hold your breath
Despite a list of reforms enacted in the last six months, Egypt seems no closer to a free-trade deal with the United States as the current ambassador heads back to Washington for a high-powered new post.
Mubarak, Zoellick discuss regional issues, bilateral relations
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks Thursday with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick on regional issues and bilateral relations, the official MENA news agency reported.