Sisi attends 40th anniversary of Egypt-U.S. Business Council
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi participated in a dinner banquet hosted by Egypt-U.S. Business Council in Washington, marking the 40th anniversary of opening the council, on the sidelines of his visit to the U.S., which was concluded yesterday.
The two-hour gathering was also attended by nearly 100 major U.S. firms, US Congress, representatives of the U.S. Department of State, and representatives from the ministries of Finance, Energy, and Commerce, in addition to the president of the International Finance Corporation and the president of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council.
Representing Egypt, the dinner was attended by Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s General Intelligence Service’s head, Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Maait, Finance Minister, Omar Mohanna, head of the Egyptian side of Egypt-U.S. Business Council, and Tarik Tawfik, President of American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.
The major firms that attended the dinner included PepsiCo, Gilead, Pfizer, Mastercard, Exxon Mobil, Citi Bank, Boieng, Uber, Caterpillar, Chevron, Bechtel, Apache, Meric, Honeywell, and Lockheed.
The dinner was open to the representatives of the American business community who were interested in working in Egypt or expanding their existing projects.
Sisi confirmed Egypt’s willingness to maintain an open communication line with American investors to identify and resolve problems and obstacles facing them, emphasising on the great role played by the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Egypt Business Council in supporting economic and trade relations between the two countries
Egypt foresees great importance of private sector for being a vital locomotive for local economic growth, which is reflected in the volume of work carried out by the Egyptian private sector either alone or through cooperation with the government in major national and development projects.
He also emphasised on the strategic relationship with the United States and his eagerness to facilitate the expansion of American companies in Egypt.
Sisi also stated that he had fruitful discussions with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, notably in the economic arena, where he focused on ways to develop economic cooperation and maximize the volume of trade between the two countries and increase the investment activities of American firms in Egypt, affirmed the strength of ties between the two countries.
During the council, Sisi saluted the late President Mohammad Anwar al-Sadat, praising his role and efforts for peace, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Sisi conveyed to Trump’s support for the Egyptian reform programme, which lures U.S. firms to invest in Egypt during soon and boost trade and investment between the two states.
U.S. investments reached $ 21 billion, the Egyptian President said, adding that Egypt is the second largest country in the Middle East in terms of volume of US investments.
Sisi announced the completion of the state of the economic reform programme in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which involved the creation of the legislative and institutional structure to attract more foreign investments into Egypt.
He stressed that Egypt has succeeded in implementing the programme in a standard that has earned the appreciation of all the international institutions across the world and did not violate any procedures or timing seen as appropriate and took into account the economic and social dimensions.
During Egypt-U.S. Business Council, Sisi affirmed that Egypt is ready to keep strong cooperation ties with the International Monetary Fund(IMF) to follow up on the situation after the completion of the reform programme, which reflects Egyptian government keenness to put the country’s economy on a sustainable path.
The implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2030, in addition to the partnership between the two sides, secures a positive environment for all investors.
He pointed out that the success of the programme is due to the strength of Egyptians and their willpower, and their determination to establish a strong and stable country capable of growth and defeat terrorism, noting that the Egyptians have a great awareness and are educated about the main issues facing the country.
In a meeting with American investors, Sisi stressed that the Egypt implemented a comprehensive plan to establish modern infrastructure at all levels.
He pointed out that Egypt has the required gas and electricity resources to serve the development goals, in addition to the completion of modernization of airports and ports, thus turning Egypt into a global logistics hub and a major gateway for American companies to cross into Africa.
Sisi said Egypt strategically acquires many promising investment opportunities in various sectors. The government offers all support to all firms wishing to invest, especially after the issuance of the new investment law, which is considered a leap to the development of the Egyptian economy, a very important step towards restoring confidence and improving the investment climate.
He also pointed out that Egypt has a number of mega and promising projects such as the Suez Canal Corridor.
The president called on American companies to invest in the sectors of health, education, and digitalization, as they have a huge market of more than 100 million consumers.
In addition, there are many trade agreements that offer the opportunity to be a huge export center for the various global economic blocs, especially within the African continent, shedding the light on legislative reforms and low labor costs.
He added that Egypt is interested in pharmaceutical sector, especially oncology and blood products, pointing out that the country is interested in pricing medicines, especially as Egypt is a promising market in this sector.
Sisi referred that the Egypt adopted a successful monetary policy that enabled it to increase its reserves of foreign exchange, maintain stability of exchange rates, secure availability of foreign currency to purchase industrial products from abroad, sustain operation of factories and increase production capacity, and allow investors and companies in Egypt to transfer their profits easily.
He pointed out that the demarcation of the maritime border between Egypt and many countries has contributed positively to accelerating the discovery and development of gas in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea, which reflects the importance of cooperation shown by Egypt, setting a distinctive model for regional cooperation to achieve mutual interests, visions, and economic benefits.
The president pointed out that Egypt aims to achieve a growth rate of 5.5 percent in this financial year of GDP, and aims to achieve a growth rate of 5.6-6 percent next financial world, pointing out that all indicators of the economy are stable and the country implements an integrated strategy to reduce public debt and decrease Budget deficit.
He pointed out that the Egypt has proved its strength to the world in its fight against terrorism during the past period and its success in attaining security and stability across all its borders.
He stressed that the country is exerting double efforts to secure its borders both from within its territory and to contribute in proactive efforts in coordination with neighboring countries experiencing unrest, which led Egypt to be rank the 16th out of 135, in terms of safety among the countries across the world.
Sisi stressed that institutional insurance is a promising file for Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa. He pointed out that the sector is currently being developed in Egypt and is expected to be disseminated throughout African countries and the region, in light of the region’s need for various insurance elements.
He added that Egypt has completely eradicated illegal immigration, pointing out that the refugee file in Egypt is different from that of other countries because Egypt grants the refugees the same rights of citizens in terms of providing adequate housing and living conditions.
For his part, Myron Brilliant, Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce and International Relations Officer, thanked President Sisi for attending the 40th anniversary of U.S. Egypt Business Council, which was established in 1979.
Brilliant affirmed on the strength of the Egyptian and American relations on various political and economic levels, stressing on Egypt’s ability to attract more investments and new capital in light of the economic reforms adopted by the country during the Sisi era, which opened many fields and opportunities for cooperation between the two countries on the commercial and investment levels.
He pointed out that there is a serious desire among many American companies to expand and inject new investments into the Egyptian market in the coming period, especially in the sectors of energy, technology and healthcare. He stressed that Egypt is now eligible to become an energy regional hub in the coming years.
He expressed the hope that the good relations between the two presidents Sisi and Trump will increase the volume of investment relations during the coming period, adding that the relationship between the two countries is at its best throughout history.
Brilliant also affirmed his country’s will to sign a free trade agreement with Egypt during the coming period, which in turn will further strengthen ties between the two countries.
For his part, John Christman, Chairman of the U.S. Egypt Business Council, and President of Apache, stressed on the strength of the mutual relations between the two countries since the establishment of the Council in 1979, which played a pivotal role in enhancing trade and investment cooperation, deepening investment relations and supporting growth rates.
He explained that Egypt currently acquires all the necessary requirements for growth in the presence of an appealing investment climate that attracts new capitals, adding that Apache is working to extend its strong presence in the field of oil and gas exploration in Western Sahara in Egypt.
“President Sisi is a national hero who has managed to achieve many unprecedented economic breakthroughs and achievements through adopting the economic reform program and improving the business climate, along with establishing mega projects and infrastructure projects, making Egypt ready to receive more foreign investments,” he added.
For his part, a representative from Pfizer announced that his company plans to pump further investments into Egypt in the coming years, in addition to offering the best health care technology, noting that the health sector will attract increasing investments in the coming period.
A representative from Gilead announced his company’s interest to cooperate with Egypt to supply medications for immunological diseases such as AIDS, following on the track of the “virus C” elimination campaign, expressing his hopes to expand the injection of more drugs for immune diseases in Africa under the presidency of Egypt to the African Union this year, which was welcomed by Sisi.
A representative from PepsiCo, revealed that his company has increased its investments in the Egyptian market to 510 million dollars, making Egypt a regional hub for the company in the Middle East, pointing out that the company has been working in Egypt with 70 thousand distributors directly and indirectly.
He also pointed out that his company has many developmental programs for the training and rehabilitation of youth and women, in addition to Egyptian labor as well as programs for community responsibility.
While a representative from MasterCard conveyed his company’s readiness to cooperate with the Egypt in its plans for digital transformation in the financial sector, which contributes to the dissemination of financial coverage, explaining that the Egypt seeks to complete its projects using the latest technologies adopted across the world.
For his part, Tarik Tawfik, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, said that the door-to-door mission during the current year has been the most prominent over the past years, as it touched the unprecedented cooperation of the American business community and highly praised the economic reforms in Egypt and its ability to create an investment climate and attract more investments.
He added that the Egyptian-American mutual economic ties strategically fulfill the desire of the two parties creating a synergetic value for both the U.S. and the Egyptian economies.
Omar Mohanna, head of the Egyptian side of the Egypt-U.S. Business Council (EUSBC) affirmed that the joint relations between Cairo and Washington reached the stage of maturity in light of the desire of both countries to enhance trade exchange indicators and boost investments during the coming period, noting that the Council has contributed throughout its history in boosting trade and investments.
He added that the Egyptian and American business communities have a great desire to develop a free trade agreement between Egypt and the United States, in light of the preference of the US side of the bilateral agreements at the expense of multilateral agreements, which indicates the possibility of launching negotiations between the two sides on a free trade agreement.
While, a representative from Standard Chartered praised the economic reforms taking place in Egypt which paved the way for attaining good growth rates and attract more investments into the country and control fiscal and monetary policy.
He also pointed out that these reforms reflected positively on Egypt’s ability to secure its financial needs in foreign currency, which was seen in the latest issuance of Eurobonds, which were covered more than 6 times.