The U.S. claims those duties, which were approved by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, greatly exceed the 43 percent cap that Egypt had agreed to have in place by this year. However, Egypt questions Washington claims. .
“We believe we have done what was needed to be done by issuing the presidential decree and hopefully clarify to our U.S. counterparts any possible areas of misunderstandings of our commitments and obligations,” said Dr. Magdi A. Farahat, Egypt minister plenipotentiary for commercial affairs at the WTO. Several sources claimed the U.S. position was influenced by a desire to appear tough on trade in an election year. .
In 2002, U.S. clothing exports to Egypt totaled only $256,000. “Trade is small because of the barriers,” said a high level U.S. official, who declined to be identified, and added that for two years the U.S. tried to work out the issue bilaterally. But local retailers in Egypt indicated that “We do not think that US Clothing will increase dramatically since most of Egyptians can not afford to buy US clothing but we expect that imports of Asian countries such as Bangladish, chine and India to surge dramatically.”