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Cablegate: Trade Minister Assesses Bilateral Relationship

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1926 2811636
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 081636Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3799
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001926

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EEB, DEPT PASS TO USTR WILSON AND MOWREY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: BBSR BMGT EAGR EAID ECON PREL
SUBJECT: TRADE MINISTER ASSESSES BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Following a discussion of general trade and economic issues (Cairo 1793), Minister of Trade Rachid asked for a few minutes alone with the Ambassador. He asked her assessment of the bilateral relationship. She noted that it had obviously improved, if for no other reason than that our two Presidents had met twice and had the opportunity to restate and recommit themselves to our common interests in the region and our mutual respect. The strategic dialogue has also provided a platform to improve our cooperation especially in international fora. We have greatly appreciated Egyptian leadership in support of the peace process. That said, the Ambassador said she recognized that the U.S. and Egypt did not necessarily agree on every issue and that the process of realizing improved coordination would continue to take a lot of work. She also noted her concern that issues relating to human rights and political reform in Egypt still had the potential to cause problems in the relationship and she urged that Egypt take steps that would demonstrate Egypt's own seriousness about these matters.

2. (C) Rachid said he was really looking to understand what the U.S. wanted from Egypt. The Ambassador reiterated that the U.S. sought continued cooperation and support from Egypt on the major challenges to regional security - peace process, Iran, proliferation. The U.S. also sought progress from Egypt in addressing issues related to political reform and human rights. The Ambassador asked him what was it that Egypt wanted from the United States. Rachid did not offer a specific set of issues and seemed still to be searching for greater clarity. At this point, the conversation had to conclude because of follow on appointments.

3. (C) Comment: The Ambassador will find an opportunity to follow up on this conversation before the Minister's mid-November visit to the U.S. In the past, the U.S. has frequently laid out detailed proposals for economic reform objectives as well as trade and investment goals. Although negotiations are ongoing to develop a USTR-Trade "strategic engagement on trade", to create a private sector Business Forum, and to continue targeted technical assistance programs, the Minister may be seeking from us our larger vision on international trade and its implications for the U.S.-Egypt relationship. He understands that the U.S. may not revisit FTAs for some time but wants to understand better how the U.S. intends to pursue its trade objectives with the world. Scobey

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