||Letter from Omar Mohanna
|Chairman, Egypt-US Business Council (EUSBC)
It is my honor to be serving as Chairman of the Egypt-US Business Council (EUSBC), the principal advocacy forum dedicated to the advancement of the bilateral relationship between Egypt and the United States.
EUSBC comprises leading Egyptian firms with strong interests in strengthening trade and business relations with the US. Members engage regularly with policy makers from both governments in an effort to clear any misconceptions, eliminate trade barriers and, establish an attractive investment environment and clear any misconceptions. EUSBC works closely with its counterpart in the United States; the US-Egypt Business Council (USEBC) and with its partners the US Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Egypt; the Council's Secretariat, on advancing its mission as well as monitoring ongoing economic, legislative, and political developments that could have a bearing on the bilateral relationship.
In coordination with the USEBC, the US Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Egypt, EUSBC organizes regular missions to the United States where members meet with senior U.S. Administration officials, members of Congress, prominent think-tanks and media to communicate Egypt’s economic story and to promote investment within a variety of sectors.
Business Missions to Egypt are also organized by the USEBC and the US Chamber of Commerce and hosted by EUSBC jointly with AmCham Egypt. Members of these delegations get to meet with senior members of the Egyptian Administration, Cabinet members, Government officials, parliamentarians, leading members of the business community, parliamentarians, active members of the civil society and media. These missions play a key role in highlighting the many opportunities for US investors within key sectors of the economy as well as working to advance their business concerns and exploring opportunities for increased joint cooperation.
The importance of the strategic relationship between Egypt and the United States cannot be overstated. Over the years, military and intelligence cooperation were established and strengthened to respond to the challenges of the day, in particular with regard to the war on terror. In terms of trade, The US is Egypt’s largest single trading partner with a volume of trade reaching USD 6.3 billion at one point. US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt stood at almost USD 19 billion as of the end of 2013.
The potential for increased economic cooperation is huge. With a population of 90 million potential consumers, the second largest economy in the region is actually bigger than official statistics suggest. The informal economy, which is estimated by the World Bank to represent 40-70% of GDP is vibrant and entrepreneurial. It also means that purchasing power is larger than official numbers imply. Strategically located, Egypt is a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa, offering US companies a regional export hub into MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe. Plans to expand the Suez Canal will further enhance Egypt’s regional role and its position as a hub for world trade.
Egypt has taken large strides in implementing economic reforms as well as political and social stability. Subsidy reform, a difficult but necessary step to fiscal stabilization, has been undertaken. A date has been set for the post June 30 parliamentary elections so that by early next year, the political road map will have been completed. The country is firmly on track to a strong economic rebound. Finally, the message to our counterparts in the US is that Egypt is once more ‘open for business’.
I look forward to working with you all at this important juncture of our history, and to further and increased collaboration between our two countries.
Omar A. Mohanna
Chairman Egyptian Center for Economic Studies ( ECES );
Chairman Egypt-US Business Council ( EUSBC );
Chairman ACE Insurance Co., Egypt;
Chairman ACE Life Insurance Co., Egypt;
Chairman Alexandria Tyre Company (Pirelli);
& Chairman Suez Cement Group of Companies