U.S.-EGYPT BUSINESS COUNCIL 2017 ACTIVITIES

Promote a U.S.-Egypt free trade agreement

Implementing a free trade agreement will open the Egyptian market for U.S. exports and services and level the playing field for American companies to compete in the local market. Egypt has a population of 80 million and is strategically located with access to markets in Europe, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Liberalizing trade will create jobs in both countries and help businesses grow throughout the region. Supporting a free trade agreement between the United States and Egypt will support Egypt’s economic reform process as well as its transition to a full-fledged democracy.

Advocate for increased dialogue on the economic partnership between Egypt and the U.S.

Recognizing that the private sector is a leading driver in the economic partnership, the council advocates for enhanced government to government dialogue and implementation of the U.S.-Egypt Plan for a Strategic Economic Partnership on Trade-Related and Investment Issues. The council seeks to play an important role through providing the substantive agenda and ensuring that issues of importance to the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Egypt are an integral to the exchange.

Educate the U.S. Congress on the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship

Educating Congress on the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship has never been more timely or important. The council can play an important role in outreach and education on the importance of the bilateral economic relationship between the United States and Egypt and its implications for overall U.S. –Middle East relations.

Promote intellectual property rights

Egypt passed major legislation in 2002 to strengthen its intellectual property rights law and updated its legal framework in terms of protection and enforcement. Nevertheless, Egypt lags behind other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The council collects and discusses IPR concerns with member companies as well as holds regular meetings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding steps that Egyptian can take to be removed from the 301 Watchlist. The council also produces policy papers on how to improve the intellectual property rights enforcement capacity in Egypt with the goal of further developing sectors and making Egypt a regional center for innovation.

Increase bilateral trade and investment

Improving the bilateral trade and investment framework is conducive to increasing two-way business. The council works with both governments to establish a mutually agreed upon work plan to update the current Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and expand the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) Agreement to new areas in Egypt. It also works with government on pieces of trade liberalization leading to a comprehensive free trade agreement between Egypt and the United States.

Improve regulatory reform and decrease trade barriers

Government regulation can be an impediment to bilateral trade. Further coordination can minimize the impact of regulation while maximizing the opportunities for commercial exchanges. The council identifies and gathers input from member companies on policy reform measures necessary for promoting regulatory reform and trade barriers. It develops working papers, priorities, and advocacy pamphlets on issues of concern to disseminate to both governments and advocate for recommended reforms.

Advocate for global entrepreneurship

Supporting entrepreneurs is a key element to increasing economic growth and promoting trade. It creates jobs, fosters community integration, and buildings human capacity. The council is a partner with the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program and helps identify vehicles where USEBC members can support entrepreneurship in Egypt. It also seeks and identifies various local partners in Egypt to implement programs.

Strengthen educational training and enhance corporate responsibility

Education and training are key components of increasing economic growth as people are the most important component of any business operation. In addition, giving back to the communities in which American companies do business is an important means for being a positive force for change. The council compiles member company activities in Egypt related to education development and corporate social development as well as compiles an inventory report on USEBC member programs in Egypt.

Stimulate the services trade

Services are fundamental to facilitating business across different sectors and between various countries. Egypt’s economy is highly dependent on the services sector and increased liberalization can increase companies’ competitive edge as well as global integration. Improved conditions in the telecommunication,  transportation, tourism, and financial sectors can help all companies in Egypt expand and improve how they do business.

Council Communication

U.S.-Egypt Business Council Newsletter —A members-only publication that updates USEBC members on council activities.

The council also creates new communication products to increase the flow of information between the council and its members as well as develops new contacts to promote the USEBC’s activities for doing business in Egypt.

Expand USEBC membership

The council identifies target American companies and briefs them on the benefits of joining the U.S.-Egypt Business Council. It also meets with American companies working in or looking to expand into Egypt to promote the USEBC and doing business in the Middle East. The council grows the USEBC membership and engages members on policy priorities according to member needs.

Carry out events relevant to the USEBC

The council hosts both Egyptian and American government officials in Washington, D.C. and Cairo, to discuss how to strengthen the U.S.-Egypt economic relationship to the benefit of both countries.  USEBC members receive invitations to these Council-exclusive events.