U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: Near East and North Africa Bureau

U.S. Department of State
96/05/29 Fact Sheet: US-Egyptian Partnership-Economic Growth and Development
Bureau of Public Affairs

Fact Sheet:
U.S. - Egyptian Partnership for Economic Growth and Development

May 29, 1996

Under the leadership of Vice President Gore (on behalf of President Clinton) and Egyptian President Mubarak, the U.S. and Egypt are building an enhanced economic relationship through a cooperative effort known formally as the U.S.-Egyptian Partnership for Economic Growth and Development.

The partnership, first announced by the two leaders in September 1994, operates through a high-level, public and private sector dialogue on policies to promote expanded economic growth and job creation in Egypt and to build mutually beneficial economic and commercial ties between the two countries.

The underlying goals of the partnership are to:

-- Expand mutual economic cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, and science and technology;

-- Work with Egyptian Government initiatives to foster economic reform, promote economic growth, and facilitate job creation; and

-- Support Egyptian efforts to increase the role of the private sector in its economy.

These goals reflect the reality that job creation and economic opportunities in the private sector are critical to Egypt's long-term stability and the well-being of the Egyptian people.

The working elements of the partnership are:

-- Joint Committee for Economic Growth to carry on the government- to-government dialogue on economic policy;

-- Joint Science and Technology Board to implement the new science and technology cooperation agreement; and

-- Presidents' Council of senior private sector executives to advise the two governments on ways to remove barriers to private sector growth in Egypt and to expand bilateral business ties.

Joint Committee for Economic Growth

The Joint Committee for Economic Growth, which held its inaugural meeting in March 1995, is scheduled to meet about every six months, alternating between the two capitals as appropriate. At its most recent session, in Cairo on January 15, 1996, the committee reviewed the activities and future work plans of its four specialized subcommittees: Economic Policy, Trade, Investment, and External Finance; Technology; Sustainable Development and the Environment; and Education and Human Resource Development.

Economic Policy, Trade, Investment, and External Finance. In this subcommittee, cooperative efforts are underway to complement and support Egypt's ongoing efforts to build a vibrant, open-market economy that is more fully integrated into the international economic system. These efforts include support for promoting Egypt's export competitiveness, enhancing privatization, protecting intellectual property rights, removing barriers to investment, developing capital markets, and upgrading the technical capabilities of and equipment for Egypt's financial management staff. President Mubarak and Prime Minister Ganzouri expressed a renewed commitment during the January 1996 meetings to accelerate reforms in these areas in 1996.

Technology. Cooperation in this area is designed to support economic growth through further liberalization of the Egyptian economy. The Technology Subcommittee's goal is to improve the efficiency of Egypt's private sector through increased use of appropriate technologies, particularly in small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises. Initial activities include programs to:

-- Assist private Egyptian companies in the introduction of new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 quality assurance standards to enhance their international competitiveness;

-- Establish pilot manufacturing technology centers to assist Egyptian small and medium-sized enterprises by providing at modest cost high- quality advice on appropriate technologies; and

-- Build access for Egyptian businesses to the global information infrastructure.

Sustainable Development and the Environment. Both countries acknowledge that any successful development strategy must be based on a pragmatic program that simultaneously promotes economic, social, and environmental progress to ensure sustainable development. The partnership, with USAID funding, is supporting activities to provide cleaner air and water in Cairo and other major cities. The partnership also is placing special emphasis on programs to protect the Red Sea beaches and fragile coral reefs. And because a large number of Egypt's environmental treasures are man-made, the partnership is working to protect some of Egypt's historical and religious sites. Besides benefiting the health of the Egyptian people and preserving their rich cultural heritage, such efforts will help ensure that Egypt's vitally important tourism industry will remain an important contributor to Egypt's economy for generations to come.

Education and Human Resource Development. The partnership recognizes that an educated work force must be the basis of Egypt's development strategy into the 21st century. The Education and Human Resources Development Subcommittee, therefore, is developing programs to help Egypt build a strong foundation for educating all of its citizens. The subcommittee is planning high-level exchanges to enable Egyptian specialists to examine best practices in the U.S., particularly in developing private-public partnerships supporting education and skills training, strategies to improve the transition from school to work, and developing new approaches to classroom and community learning that make better use of new technologies. Ongoing USAID-funded education programs will complement this exchange program. These programs include providing in-service training for Egyptian teachers, encouraging greater female literacy and education efforts, and linking Egyptian grade-school students to students in more than 50 countries through the U.S. Globe Schools Program on the Internet.

Joint Science and Technology Board

The Joint Science and Technology Board oversees implementation of the U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Agreement, which took effect for a five-year period on August 25, 1995. The board reports on progress to the Technology Subcommittee of the Joint Committee for Economic Growth and Development and coordinates science and technology activities with other subcommittees as appropriate.

At its first meeting last October, the board agreed that activities under the agreement should focus initially on three priority areas: biotechnology, environmentally friendly manufacturing technology, and standards. Particular emphasis will be placed on private sector participation.

As a first step toward enhanced cooperation, the board decided that joint workshops in the three priority areas should be held for government, academic, and private sector representatives from both countries. The board anticipates that the workshops held in 1996 will generate joint project proposals, to be submitted to the board by the end of 1996. The board seeks also to maximize the benefits of cooperative activities for the private sector in both countries. In this connection, workshops are expected to address intellectual property rights and the investment climate in order to facilitate increased private sector cooperation.

Presidents' Council

The Presidents' Council has been established to provide to both governments advice and counsel reflecting private sector views, needs, and concerns, with the goal of facilitating private sector growth in Egypt and strengthening U.S-Egyptian business ties. The council is comprised of 15 Egyptian and 15 U.S. senior private sector executives representing diverse industries of varying size.

At the January 1996 meeting in Cairo, the members of the council submitted a report directly to President Mubarak and Vice President Gore about the problems businesses encounter in Egypt. Members recommended a variety of steps the Egyptian Government might take to improve Egypt's investment climate and create a more business-friendly environment both for foreign firms as well as Egyptian businesses. They also suggested actions the U.S. Government could take to improve commercial ties between the two countries.

For the United States and Egypt, the partnership is a unique opportunity to strengthen the ties that bind the two countries and two peoples together, while helping Egypt to improve its economic growth rate. (###)

[Boxed item]

Members of the Joint Committee for Economic Growth

Co-Chairmen of the Joint Committee
Vice President Al Gore (on behalf of President Clinton)
President Hosni Mubarak

Co-Chairs of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Trade, Investment, and
External Policy
Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural
Affairs, Joan Spero
Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, Jeffrey Shafer
Minister of Economy and International Cooperation, Nawal al Tatawi
Minister of Supply and Foreign Trade, Ahmed Goweili

Co-Chairs of the Subcommittee on Sustainable Development and the Environment
Administrator of USAID, J. Brian Atwood
Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Timothy Wirth
Minister for Public Enterprise and the Environment, Dr. Atef Ebeid
Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) Chairman, Dr. Salah Hafez

Co-Chairs of the Subcommittee on Technology
Under Secretary of Commerce, Mary Good
Minister of State for Scientific Research, Dr. Venice Kamel Gouda

Co-Chairs of the Subcommittee on Education and Human Resource Development
Assistant Administrator of USAID, Ambassador Sally Shelton
Under Secretary of Education, Marshall Smith
Minister of Education, Dr. Hussein Kamel Baha El Din

Co-Chairs of the Joint Science and Technology Board
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Science, Technology, and Health, Anne Solomon
Minister of State for Scientific Research, Dr. Venice Kamel Gouda

Co-Chairs of the Presidents' Council
Secretary of Commerce, Mickey Kantor
Minister of State at the Cabinet for Follow-Up on Economic Affairs, Youssef Boutros-Ghali

May 29, 1996


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