Egypt, US and Israel to sign QIZ agreement
Egyptian, American and Israeli officials will hold a three- way meeting in Cairo starting from Dec. 14 to discuss setting up Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ), MENA reported.
Egypt's Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry Rasheed Mohamed Rasheed, US trade representative ambassador Robert Zoelick and Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry Ehud Olmert will sign a memo of understanding at the conclusion of their meeting as a new landmark in cooperation among the three sides.
QIZ agreement will allow Egypt to export products to the US outside the quotas system that was applied on Egyptian products in the American market. Additionally, there will be a 35% drop of customs duties imposed on foreign imports into the US. Israeli share in the QIZ project will be limited to 11.25% compared to 17.5% as earlier proposed.
The memo will not deal with specific zones for exporting Egyptian products to the US markets, but rather two zones one in Greater Cairo and the other covering Egyptian territories.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Cabinet Spokesman Magdi Radi announced following the latest meeting that QIZ represents a step towards ratifying a free trade agreement with the US. "The government has accepted QIZ to boost Egyptian textile exports to the US in the face of fierce competition from Asian countries," said Radi. "The fact that the quota system will be eliminated on 1st January makes this even more important."
The Cabinet spokesman added that the QIZ agreement will protect the Egyptian textile industry, a crucial, labor- intensive industry that employs almost one million citizens.