Toward an FTA with Egypt

Dec 14, 2011

Egypt, at the forefront of the Arab Spring movement, is facing big challenges as it evolves to a more open political system. Egypt has been closely-connected strategically to the United States for decades, but closer economic ties between the two countries would benefit the Egyptian people and their budding democracy.

A Center for Strategic and International Studies report issued today supports this by calling for a path toward free trade negotiations with Egypt. In it, author Meredeth Broadbent advises,

The United States should choose to offer a sound pathway to economic modernization and transparency, embodied by the reform commitments that would be required under a future FTA, during a time when Egyptians will be engaged in a debate on many of those same issues.

The report emphasizes U.S. budgetary restraints during the economic downturn and how a potential FTA with Egypt is preferable to hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid.

Khush Choksy, executive director of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council agrees that deeper trade ties are needed: “U.S. engagement in FTA negotiations with Egypt not only makes sense for U.S. business interests, it will also be seen as a gesture of good will and encouragement for our Egyptian partners and friends.”

An Egyptian FTA would also help the both U.S. and Egypt's economies.  Lionel Johnson, the Chamber's vice president of Middle East and North Africa Affairs said, “As the United States continues to chase its goal of doubling exports over the next five years, it must look towards countries that will be integrating into the global economy. This report is simple in its message: closer trade relations between the United States and Egypt can bring growth and jobs for both countries."

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