LEBANON AND EGYPT SIGN 4 AGREEMENTS TO ENHANCE TRADE AND INVESTMENT

The LebaneseEgyptian talks were concluded by the signing of three memoranda of understanding, and an executive program to enhance trade and investment relations between the two countries.

The LebaneseEgyptian Joint Higher Committee held a meeting this afternoon at the Grand Serail, chaired by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Egyptian counterpart Dr. Mostafa Madbouly.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil, the Minister of Industry Wael Abu Faour, the Minister of Interior and Municipalities Raya alHassan, the Minister of Economy Mansour Bteich, the Minister of Public Health Jamil Jabak, the Minister of Labor Camille Abu Sleiman, the Minister of Communications Mohammad Choucair, the Minister of State for Information Technology Adel Afiouni, the Minister of Energy Nada Boustani, the Lebanese Ambassador to Egypt Ali Halabi, the SecretaryGeneral of the Council of Ministers Mahmoud Makkiye and the General Director of the Ministry of Economy Alia Abbas on the Lebanese side.

From the Egyptian side, the meeting was attended by the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohammad Shaker, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla, the Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, the Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar, the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Nazih Naggari, and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Major General Atef Abd elFattah.

Memoranda of understanding

After the meeting, Premiers Hariri and Madbouly signed three memoranda of understanding and an executive investment program.

The first memorandum deals with the exchange of tax experiences between the two countries, the second to the export of Egyptian building materials (gravel and sand) to Lebanon, and the third concerns the field of communication and information technology.

An executive program in the field of investment promotion was also signed between the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon for the years 20192020.

Hariri

At the end of the meeting, Hariri said: Once again I welcome Dr. Mustafa Madbouly and the ministers, members of the Egyptian delegation, who participated in the meetings of the ninth session of the LebaneseEgyptian Joint Higher Committee. We can say that we managed through our negotiations to solve the problems that existed between the two countries in various fields, especially industry, electricity, labor and others. Premier Madbouly promised us to complete the files related to health and medicine in a few weeks so we can sign a memorandum regarding these sectors and start economic exchange.

During our talks, we focused on ways to develop economic cooperation in light of the obstacles from both sides, particularly with regard to bureaucracy, and we decided to work together to overcome them.

Yesterday, I raised with Premier Madbouly a number of issues and he expressed his readiness to solve them, especially the registration of Lebanese factories in Egypt, which is taking a long time. Premier Madbouly has taken a decision with the Minister of Industry to register these factories quickly, within two weeks. We also reached solutions in the field of labor, and we must approve the agreement in the Council of Ministers, and we will hopefully do this during the first meeting that we will hold.

The Egyptian Prime Minister briefed us on the Egyptian experience in dealing with the economic problems and overcome problems in the fields of electricity, water, roads and others. I benefited from his experience in this regard, especially in terms of the difficulty of taking difficult decisions. What leads to disaster is doing nothing. This is what Egypt suffered from for a long time until the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah alSisi came with an active team such as the one we have today, which includes a number of women who achieved a great deal. I agreed with the Prime Minister that the competent ministers will solve their problems directly and refer to us only in complex matters.

I reiterate my thanks to the Prime Minister and his team and to the Lebanese ministers who exerted great efforts to reach these memoranda.

Madbouly

For his part, Prime Minister Madbouly said: First I would like to express my happiness to be in Lebanon, our second country.

I do not need to emphasize the depth of the historical ties between the two countries. There is always a great cultural and civilization rapprochement between the Lebanese and Egyptian peoples, and several hardships and good times brought us together, which confirms the proximity and blood ties between the two peoples.

Allow me to convey the greetings of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah alSisi and his wishes of prosperity and progress to the Lebanese president, government and people, and to convey a message from him of Egypt’s support to Lebanon. This is something we do not need to say because it is a reality. President alSisi has a famous saying, which is Lebanon’s security comes from Egypt’s security. This is a fact that every Egyptian citizen believe in. I always say that if you ask Egyptian citizens about the relationship and its depth between the two peoples, everyone will emphasize it. I confirm that the coming period will witness the deepening of the cooperation between the two states. There is consensus at the level of political leaders and also between the two peoples but we need to increase economic relations between the two countries by enabling the private sector in both countries to expand joint project. There are areas of investment in both countries, and we encourage the establishment of joint companies between the two countries that can invest in both countries and other markets like Africa or elsewhere, especially that there are several advantages that characterizes the private sector in both countries.

We in Egypt had experience, during the last years, in the fields of energy, electricity, gas, and infrastructure. We overcome these problems and obstacles and the Egyptian companies are keen to provide all support to Lebanon, because we are confident that the Lebanese government can overcome any difficulties facing Lebanon at this stage in the fields of infrastructure and economy.

There was a positive spirit and mutual enthusiasm between the two sides. All the obstacles and problems that have been raised have already been overcome. Even the remaining health issue will be solved within the next few days.

It is very important for the two sides to communicate directly, and we are keen to solve all problems and deepen ties between the two countries during the next period. Once again, I thank the Prime Minister for his welcome and wish him all success in leading Lebanon to safety.

After that, Hariri and Madbouly headed to Beirut Central District where they had coffee in a cafe.

Spanish Foreign Minister

Hariri then received at the Grand Serail the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles at the head of a delegation, in the presence of former Minister Ghattas Khoury. Discussions focused on the latest developments, bilateral relations and the tasks carried out by the Spanish battalion in UNIFIL.

Source: NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY