Israel-Egypt Trade Soars on U.S. Deal

(AP/Washington Post) Jasper Mortimer - When Washington first offered to introduce an element of interdependence between the Israeli and Egyptian economies, Cairo balked. But a little over a year ago, Egypt did accept the deal and it has been impressed, not to say astounded, by the impact on its No. 1 manufacturing sector, the garment industry: thousands of jobs created, higher wages, and soaring exports to the U.S. Figures from the Israel Export Institute show that trade between Egypt and Israel, dominated by goods for the garment sector, rose from $58 million in 2004 to $142 million in 2005, a whopping 144% increase in only one year. Wages in Egypt's textile and garment industry have risen 25% since December 2004, when Egypt, Israel, and the U.S. signed the Qualified Industrial Zone agreement, according to Mohammed Kassim, the vice chairman of the Egyptian Chamber of Textile Industries. At least 15,000 jobs have been created, with 30,000 more to be created this year.

2006-01-27 00:00:00

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