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Joint Statement of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohammed Rachid

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohammed Rachid met to discuss ways to expand U.S.-Egyptian economic ties. Ambassador Kirk and Minister Rachid also signed a Plan for a Strategic Partnership, which aims to further promote economic cooperation between United States and Egypt. They issued the following statement at the conclusion of their meeting:

"Today's meeting demonstrates the continuing close friendship and collaboration that characterizes the relations between our countries. It is our firm belief that greater economic cooperation between us will benefit both sides by supporting sound government policies that create jobs, boost investment, and build sustainable development. Strengthened cooperation in the economic sphere is particularly important during this difficult time for the global economy. It will also help to sustain Egypt's important recent economic reform efforts.

"Today we signed the United States - Egypt Plan for a Strategic Partnership, which instructs our senior officials to develop a framework over the next 90 days for cooperation in a number of trade and investment areas. We also welcome and strongly encourage private sector involvement in our discussions, recognizing that our efforts should be focused on practical solutions that effectively address the challenges our businesses face.

"In the months ahead, we have dedicated ourselves to pursuing a program of intensified U.S.-Egyptian cooperation on economic, trade, and investment issues. We are convinced that these efforts will serve as a welcome complement to the already strong cooperation our countries share on political and security matters.

"Additionally, we would like to take this opportunity to recognize the designation earlier this year, in cooperation with Israel, of two additional Qualifying Industrial Zones in Upper Egypt. The expansion of the QIZ program in Egypt to the new zones of Beni Suief and Al Minya is another indication of our desire to strengthen U.S. trade relations with the region."