U.S. companies eye Egypt for investment
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi meets with IMF chief Christine Lagarde in Cairo
September 5th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

U.S. companies eye Egypt for investment

By Jill Dougherty

More than 100 senior executives from dozens of U.S. companies, representing finance, energy, technology and other firms, will travel to Egypt on Saturday as part of the largest-ever trade delegation to the region.

Organized by the Chamber of Commerce through its U.S.-Egypt Business Council, the mission's primary aim is to promote private-sector development and to scout for opportunities and partnerships.

But the delegation will also express U.S. business confidence in Egypt and demonstrate a commitment to the country's long-term economic development.

It will be led by Lionel Johnson, the chamber's vice president of Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa affairs, and Steve Farris, chief executive of Apache Corporation, a private Fortune 200 company with more than $10 billion in investments in Egypt.

Others in the delegation of more than 50 companies heading to Cairo include Cisco, Citibank, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Microsoft and ExxonMobil.

In a sign of Obama administration support, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides will join the trip.

The administration's focus has been on U.S. economic assistance to Egypt. But it is close to agreement with the new government of President Mohammed Morsy to relieve $1 billion of debt.

Egypt also is discussing a $4.8 billion credit with the International Monetary Fund, which the Obama administration supports, as well as other financing and loan guarantees.

The State Department has a dual-track approach.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Egypt in July, top Egyptian officials pointed to broad-based economic growth and job creation as top priorities.

Egypt's economy has major challenges but it is not running out of money. According to the IMF, it has $14 billion in international reserves although that is down from more than $36 billion at the end of 2010.

It needs help with its budget deficit, giving the new government room to address more immediate problems like job creation, support for enterprises, education, economic reform and help for regions that have lagged behind.

These are the things that Egyptians fought for in their Arab Spring uprising 18 months ago.

Egypt is hugely influential in the region and progress for its people could be a potent message for other Arab Spring countries whose people question what benefit their popular uprisings brought them.

"We want our assistance to be on many levels, and in many areas," Robert Hormats, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, told CNN.

Hormats, who led a delegation of senior U.S. economic officials to Cairo in late August, said in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt that President Morsy "has indicated his desire to adopt a serious and impressive economic reform agenda."

"With a president, a prime minister, and a Cabinet ready to engage, now is the moment for Egypt and the United States – and indeed the wider international community as well - to work together with renewed commitment and energy on several levels and in several ways," Hormats said.

Improving the country's business climate is one of the key ways to encourage domestic and foreign investment, he said.

"Doing so through such steps as regulatory reform, and maintaining an open and stable investment climate, can over the course of the next several years bring far more resources, and far more new technologies to Egypt than foreign loans or foreign assistance could bring. We plan to help on all these fronts."

Human rights groups welcome news that the Obama administration is close to completing the debt relief deal.

Human Rights First's Neil Hicks said that "a prosperous, peaceful, democratic Egypt would be an important ally for the United States in a troubled region."

"Support for much needed economic assistance to the Egyptian government will better enable U.S. policy makers to encourage Egypt's leaders to move forward with essential political reforms and vital measures that protect basic rights and freedoms for all Egyptians," he said.

Asked why it has taken so long to craft a debt package, acting Deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters on Tuesday that Egyptians "have gone through what has been a number of months of significant change" that included elections and a new president.

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  30. Mike

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    No deals must be made with those backwards fanatics. They don't deserve it after what they've done. Torching the American embassy is unforgivable. Fairness and peace isn't possible with Islam.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
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    Any American company that invests in Egypt will be boycotted by me and as many friends and associates I reach. My business will stop buying from them, even if it menas Coca Cola and simlar world wide brands, I have had it with Muslim fanaticism. I will tell my customer why I am boycotting and ask them to do it as well. The pwoer of the dollar is mighty.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
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      If the USA gives them a dime, I will personally go after every member of Congress who supports it with money, pamphleting and voter drives. Madness,. utter madness.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
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    Why would any US business wish to do businees with a bunch of crazy animalistic muslims in Egypt? Surely if one in Egypt made a diststeful movie about Christ they would not ever entertain the idea that Americans would act the same as Muslims.
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    Obama should contribute another two billion of tax dollars to Egypt? I sdure as hell hope he isn't that stupid, AGAIN!

    September 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
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    Oh, you bet. U.S. companies are going to risk assets in a nation that has lunatics climbing embassy walls? I don't think so.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
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      Surely you jest cleo. Do you really believe US Companies are any LESS greedy than any other foriegn business. Perhaps you should read more on the FED and what they are doing for big business in the USDA. Low interest rates for the wealthy to ionvest anywhere in any company in any business.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  37. Smiley

    What ?? Invest in what ? Sure, open a production line to make effigys of American leaders, Christians, Jews and other infidels. Then open another plant to increase production of stones to use in Sharia court verdicts, sharp blades to fit any limb or head of infidels who break Sharia law. Yeah, we need more investment such as those.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply
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    Why can't U.S. companies invest in America; afraid they won't get to be the 1% traitors anymore?

    September 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply

    Screw that....go to Canada. Why waste time with those barbaric Arab monkeys ? They want to burn down or shoot anything or anyone who doesn't agree with them. If anyone has any sense at all, they would avoid the middle east totally.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  40. Paul

    Good luck attracting those investments following today's storming of the US embassy. It is though for companies to send employees to countries where they will not be safe.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
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      Yup. I'd be curious to see a follow up on this story following these developments...

      September 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
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      Egyptians are smart? Good? Practical? Egypt is safer? Dude, what planet are you from, much less have you even been watching the news? Much anger and destruction occurring in Egypt. Try lying elsewhere. We are not stupid.

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    We need to focus on India. Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. I concur with this approach and find the premise to be on solid footing. Central Asian States (CAS) are a case in point on this successful approach. Egypt will fall in place.

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      There you have it. Split a another country into smaller pieces so American corporations can make more money. Who cares if the "subjugated minorities" do not want their homeland split up.

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      September 13, 2012 at 3:47 am | Reply
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  45. logital

    Morsi on the LEFT and LaGarde on the RIGHT.
    Send those deli-getters to Ky,Tn,Ga,Va,SC,Fl,Ak,Ar,Az,Tx,Ca,NM,Oh,Ut etc

    September 5, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • ChicoMike

      No thanks, we don't want those crfeeps in the USA.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
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    Plez pay Tax do not say like Romny . Lol

    September 5, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
  47. Steve

    It all makes sense now... start popular uprisings in countries that were once opposed to dealing with the US. Back the "good guys" in these uprisings. Then roll in the big corporations and the IMF. Disgusting.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:56 am | Reply
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      September 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  48. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Let's hope that Mohammad Morsi makes these companies pay their fair share of the taxes there so he can use the revenue to prop up that country's natioal economy. This should not become a free-for-all for the West like it was under Hosni Mubarak!

    September 5, 2012 at 3:32 am | Reply
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      My apologies for the missprint above. I meant to print "national", not "natioal".

      September 5, 2012 at 3:34 am | Reply
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