What we’re tracking on 24 July 2017
Love is in the air between Washington and Cairo after US President Donald Trump called President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday and affirmed his administration’s commitment to supporting the country, president spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement. The two discussed boosting cooperation in combating terrorism, which Trump lauded El Sisi for facing head-on, Al Masry Al Youm reports. At his first news briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump said he is committed to continuing to provide Egypt with military aid and coordinating to ensure the funds are directed towards the fight against terrorism, according to Al Shorouk. Trump also commended Sisi for his efforts to deal with Egypt’s economic challenges and offered to discuss how the US could support its economic reforms, said Spicer.Trump also said he is looking forward to El Sisi visiting him in Washington soon.
As we noted back in our year in review, Trump’s arrival could signal the US is coming back to the fold as one of our closest allies. The El Sisi administration’s multi-polar foreign policy had favored strengthening ties with Russia and China at the expense of the US, especially since the Obama administration’s perceived reluctance on delivering aid to Egypt following 30 June 2013. We know where The Donald stands on Russia and we hope things don’t get too complicated for us if he decides to start that trade war.
On that front, Trump formally withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement on Monday, fulfilling a key campaign promise, Reuters reports. And even that is working in our favor, as Bloomberg notes that his protectionist stance — which doesn’t appear to be subsiding — is leading to drops in the USD which is helping equity markets in Egypt and Saudi and currencies in other emerging markets.
Meanwhile, the UK is getting a head start on negotiating new trade deals with countries outside the European Union, despite EU officials saying the kingdom has no legal right to do so before exiting the bloc, Bloomberg reports.
We know this might make some of you a bit jealous, but we’re taking the rest of the week off. We’ve decided to bridge tomorrow’s national holiday with Thursday to give ourselves a much-needed long weekend. We’ll be back to our normal publishing schedule on Sunday.
The Global Oil & Gas Middle East & North Africa conference kicks off today at the Cairo International Convention Center.