Egypt clashes 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Some Egyptian companies still face the possibility of strikes due to ongoing
social upheaval in the country, which in turn could affect work in
Egyptian-Israeli free-trade zones, an Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry official
“They [Egyptian workers] have discovered union power,” said
Gabby Bar, head of the ministry’s Middle East department.
owners of the factories are now ready to negotiate, because they understand that
otherwise there might be a strike that will cause damage to their
“Now [the workers] understand that they can make demands to
increase the salaries,” he said. “You have to remember that their salaries are
$80 a month per worker.”
Egyptian factories that use products from Israel
under a US-sponsored trade deal have resumed work, after being closed for a
month following the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak, Bar told Israel
Radio on Saturday.
On Sunday he said continuing strikes were internal
problems that were unrelated to Egypt upholding its trade agreements with
Ten Qualifying Industrial Zones were established in Egypt in 2005
following a deal between former Industry, Trade and Labor minister Ehud Olmert
and his Egyptian counterpart, Rashid Muhammad Rashid. Based on a similar accord
between Israel and Jordan from the late 1990s, the deal allows Egypt to send
dutyfree exports to the United States, so long as their origin is at least 10.5
The value of Israeli exports to Egypt totaled $140
million in 2010, of which more than $100m. came from raw materials sent to the
QIZs in Egypt, Bar said. As a result, Egyptian exports to the US totaled more
than $1 billion in 2010.
Two more QIZs are being planned for upper
(southern) Egypt, subject to US approval, Bar added. Of the existing ones, four
are in the Cairo area, four in the Alexandria area and two in Port Said.