Egypt and Israel on Tuesday inked a deal to lower the threshold of Israeli components required in Egyptian products for them to be exported to the American market. The deal aimed at boosting exports from so-called Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) was inked by Egyptian Trade Minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid during a visit to Cairo by his Israeli peer Eli Yishai.
"We have signed an amendment to reduce from 11.7 percent to 10.5 percent the proportion of Israeli components," Yishai told journalists after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Rashid. Yishai added the agreement was modified following requests from 17 Egyptian textile and agricultural businesses.
According to AFP, the two sides also signed and dispatched a letter to US authorities requesting the designation of eight new QIZ areas in Upper Egypt, the south of the country.
It should be noted that goods from a QIZ, several of which exist in Egypt and Jordan since the US Congress authorized them in 1996, can enter the United States duty-free provided they contain Israeli components.
Egyptian textile exports from QIZs amounted to US$306 million from January to May of 2007, up from US$223 million during the same period in 2006.