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Bucharest, Nov 21 /Agerpres / - Identifying areas of cooperation of major interest, increasing bilateral trade, getting Romanian companies involved in the development of projects in Egypt, and attracting Egyptian investment to Romania were the main subjects discussed by Romania's Minister for Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Ilan Laufer and Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

The meeting of the two officials took place in Cairo at the Romania-Egypt Business Forum organised by the Egyptian Businessmen's Association, where the Romanian delegation was composed of representatives of member companies of the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ilan Laufer and Sherif Ismail agreed on strengthening the economic dimension between the two countries, with emphasis on its development in the coming period.

"The traditional trade relations between our countries as well as the increased interest of the Romanian companies in the Egyptian market, the restart of the Romanian-Egyptian Joint Committee after seven years, the Romanian economy's performance in recent months, the government's efforts to support investors coming up with viable projects in Romania, an attractive legislative framework are as many arguments for attracting Egyptian capital," said Laufer.

He unveiled the results of his official visit after meetings with Egyptian dignitaries. Among the topics discussed, Laufer mentioned speeding up the signing of memoranda of understanding still under negotiation (related to natural gas transmission, air services, aeronautical cooperation, tourism). They will complement the co-operation framework defined by five bilateral documents already signed in the areas of SMEs, investment, agriculture, water, irrigation resources and cooperation between the Constanta and Alexandria port authorities, all outcomes of a previous meeting in Bucharest of the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation.

Other common objectives defined for the next period were increasing bilateral trade in a balanced way, as well as the getting Romanian companies involved in major projects in Egypt, such as natural gas, electricity, railway transport and agriculture. At the same time, Laufer mentioned the implementation of the Start-Up Nation and Internationalisation programmes, as well as availability for transfers of Romanian experience with SMEs development and increasing the number of entrepreneurs in Egypt.

Laufer detailed the results of the Start Up Nation programme, which he called one of the most exciting programmes in Europe to support young entrepreneurs. He said: "Under this programme, we will finance 8,700 companies this year; about 21,000 jobs will be created, while the insertion of disadvantaged people, unemployed and young graduates in the labour market will be sought, along with an increase in investment in new, innovative technologies."

Egyptian Prime Minister Sheriff Ismail presented elements of the reform process recently started by his government, including priorities for developing economic and trade cooperation with EU countries, developing and stabilising the SME system, as well as restructuring infrastructure and increasing the competitiveness of the Egyptian industry. He said that the Egyptian Government is a firm supporter of the development of economic co-operation with Romania, focusing on reaching a volume of one billion US dollars in trade and developing Romanian-Egyptian economic ties in as many areas of mutual interest as possible through the transfer of technology and manufacturing cooperation in Egypt's existing industrial facilities. AGERPRES (RO - author: Carmen Marinescu, editor: Mariana Nica; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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