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The year was 1979.
A gallon of gas cost $0.86 per gallon, and you could buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread for under $2.00 at the local grocery store. And 40 years ago today, on the evening of March 27th, government officials and business leaders from the United States and Egypt convened in the U.S. Chamber’s Hall of Flags to witness the historic launch of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council.
Regional politics across the Middle East were tumultuous and transformative, and the world had just witnessed the signing of the historic Camp David Accords. As an outcome of this momentous agreement, the U.S.-Egypt Business Council was created to advance the bilateral commercial relationship between the U.S. and Egypt.
The United States of America and the Arab Republic of Egypt have had an historic friendship for decades, and our two countries share a strategic bond that goes beyond our mutual political and security interests. Over the years, the decades-long economic partnership between our two countries has sustained many political winds, and it continues to strengthen and grow. Today, the U.S. and Egypt enjoy a vibrant trade relationship, with over $6 billion dollars going both ways in 2018. Additionally, during fiscal year 2017/2018, U.S. investments in Egypt totaled $21.8 billion, according to Egypt’s Minister for Investment and International Cooperation, HE Dr. Sahar Nasr. Our two countries truly have a shared future: the Egyptian economy continues to grow and diversify, and American companies across a range of sectors are committed to, and works toward, Egypt’s economic success and prosperity.
For 40 years, the U.S-Egypt Business Council has promoted economic relationship at the highest levels of government and business in both countries. “Launched by President Carter and President Sadat, this council has served as the principle platform between the two private sectors in encouraging and facilitating further and deepening of U.S.-Egyptian commercial ties,” said Myron Brilliant, EVP and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Today, the council is comprised of over 60 of the leading American companies doing business and investing in Egypt. Our members represent every sector of the economy, ranging from healthcare and information technology to energy and infrastructure to food and agriculture and tourism. The U.S.-Egypt Business Council helps facilitate trade and investment between the two countries by hosting meetings with high-level government officials, business delegations, and forums on investment opportunities, and by conducting policy studies. Our partners, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and the Egypt-U.S. Business Council, also play key roles in the Council’s efforts and success.
The council’s members have a wealth of experience and expertise that helps foster innovation, creativity, and diversity in transforming Egypt’s growing economy. U.S.-Egypt Business Council members not only employ and train local Egyptians; they are also contributing to Egypt’s stability and future by significantly investing in human capital. The chair of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, Apache Corporation, exemplifies these values through its initiative, Springboard, which has built and supports hundreds of one-room schools for students living in remote rural areas across Egypt.
As the council celebrates 40 years of advocacy, leadership, and collaboration between the American and Egyptian business communities, we look forward to building on achievements with more investment and greater economic growth for the region. The American business community will continue to be an important commercial partner and friend of Egypt for years to come, and the U.S.-Egypt Business Council is proud and honored to celebrate this historic anniversary of our founding with our friends and allies from Washington to Cairo, and across both of our great nations.