A question as to the value of a U.S.-Egypt Free Trade Agreement (FTA) misses the point.
The question should not be whether an FTA would be in the interest of both parties
since there is abundant evidence that it would.
The question is what kind of FTA would best suit the needs, both short and long term,
of the two parties: shallow integration or deep integration? The former, which would
typically tackle surface trade matters like qualitative restrictions, standards, and border
issues, is easier to achieve, but would be of limited long-term value to both countries.
The second, deep integration, holds the promise of reaching beyond enforcing
standards to real reform in areas like investment, labor rights, environmental impact,
judicial reform, and intellectual property rights, all of which are mainstays in the U.S.
negotiating position and imperative to Egypt’s long-term development.