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U.S. Seeks Economic Reforms in Egypt Ahead of Planned IMF Talks

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. State Department delegation pushed Egypt to make economic reforms in a meeting with government officials ahead of International Monetary Fund talks scheduled for next month.

The U.S. suggested reforms including bankruptcy laws, streamlining bureaucratic processes and developing logistical capacity in the port city of Suez, Robert Hormats, U.S. under secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, told reporters in Cairo today.

“We’ve come here to make substantial progress,” Hormats said. “Egypt expressed a high degree of urgency about financial support.”

Talks are scheduled to resume between Egypt and the IMF over a loan of as much as $4.8 billion in the second week of September, which the U.S. “is playing an active role in mobilizing,” Hormats said.

Hormats said his team has to “do a lot of consultation with Congress” before it can reach an agreement on U.S. debt guarantees requested by Egyptian officials.

The delegation didn’t discuss devaluation of the Egyptian pound or the possibility of a free trade agreement, Hormats said.

Representatives from 48 U.S. companies will visit Egypt starting Sept. 8 to evaluate private-sector opportunities, according to Hormats.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ahmed A. Namatalla in Cairo at anamatalla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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