WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is sending to Cairo the largest ever U.S. trade delegation to the Arab world in a bid to help revitalize Egypt's economy and strengthen ties between the once ironclad allies, officials said Tuesday.
More than 100 American executives from some 50 companies will arrive in Egypt on Saturday. U.S. titans such as Boeing, The Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, Google, IBM and Microsoft will be represented over four days of meetings.
Egypt's economy has slumped since last year's revolution that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. U.S.-Egyptian ties have suffered, too.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the trip "will identify new business opportunities and partnerships for U.S. companies, express U.S. business confidence in Egypt and demonstrate a commitment to Egypt's long-term economic development."
With a population of more than 85 million, Egypt is by far the Arab world's biggest market. But two-way trade between the U.S. and Egypt totaled only $8.2 billion last year. U.S. trade with Germany, which has a similar- size population as Egypt, was $147.8 billion last year.
The delegation is part of an Obama administration effort to help countries undergoing democratic transitions as part of the Arab Spring.
The U.S. also has pledged $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt. Officials say they are working on making that money available for investment capital and job creation funds.