Abdel Halim Qandil, Eat your heart out!
The "great" leftist egyptian "intellectual"- and I am using the word intellectual here while holding my nose - Abdel Halim Qandil is at the forefront of the movement to reject any kind of normalization or agreements with Israel what so ever. He would actually want the peace agreement with Israel annulled and calls arabs who support peacefull relations with Israel to be "arab zionists". In his "brain", not a single egyptian would be for the QIZ trade agreement with Israel, which I proved to be wrong by highlighting demonstrations by actual egyptian workers who were demonstrating to have their factory join the QIZ and get over our irrational anti-semitism. Remember this actual quote from an egyptian textile worker- the same class Qandil claims to represent and champion? "People do not understand that if we do not have a QIZ here, me and my co-workers will be kicked out of the factory. We should stop being over sentimental about Israel and see what is good for us," said Mohammed Al Assal, a 43-year-old textile worker. Well, the QIZ agreement has been good for us after all. Really good! But a little over a year ago, Egypt did accept the deal and it has been impressed, not to say astounded, by the impact on its No. 1 manufacturing sector, the garment industry: thousands of jobs created, higher wages, and soaring exports to the United States. Here are some numbers for ya: Figures from the Israeli Export Institute show that trade between Egypt and Israel, dominated by goods for the garment sector, rose from $58 million in 2004 to $142 million in 2005.
Although the amounts are small — Egypt's global exports are worth about $12 billion a year, Israel's are about $30 billion — it's still a whopping 144 percent increase in only one year.
Wages in Egypt's textile and garment industry have risen 25 percent since December 2004, when Egypt, Israel and the United States signed the Qualified Industrial Zone agreement, according to Mohammed Kassim, the vice chairman of the Chamber of Textile Industries, and Magdy Tolba, the head of the Ready-made Garment Exporters Association.
Egyptian clothing exports to the United States in September 2005 were 85 percent higher than those in September 2004, Kassim said.
The QIZ agreement enabled Egyptian exports to enter the U.S. market tariff-free, as long as 11.7 percent of their production material — textiles, dyes and packaging — came from Israel, and they were made in specific industrial zones.
The accord has proved so popular that Egyptian workers and companies successfully pushed their government to expand the QIZ zones so that they now cover the whole of greater Cairo, the Suez Canal cities of Ismailiya and Suez, and four Nile Delta provinces.
Tolba estimates at least 15,000 jobs have been created since the QIZ and 30,000 jobs will be created this year.Wow, all of that because of just one year of the QIZ. Imagine if he had accepted it back in the 90's, when it was offerd to us and Jordan. We, the herald of arabism, refused because of the "palestinian cause". The Jordanians, who are 70% palestinains, accepted it 8 years ago, and their economy shows it. The reason? The Jordanians are after their interests, and not hollow slogans, like we egyptians are. However, there are other differences. Egypt sees Israel as a regional rival and has been loath to strengthen relations while the Palestinian conflict continues. Jordan seeks to influence Israel by engagement and, for geographic and demographic reasons, its economy will always be closer to Israel's.
The upshot is that 12 years of peace between Jordan and Israel have produced 20 Israeli factories in the kingdom while 27 years of Egyptian-Israeli peace have seen the construction of only two sizable Israeli factories in Egypt.And I bet those factories' owners identity has to remain hidden too. Whatever. I hope those facts would help people-especially those on the egyptian left- to realize the potential and the benefits of such a trade relationship with Israel. I hope it makes them realize that at the end of the day, workers would rather make money and feed their families then stand for hollow ideals and slogans. I hope it also makes them relaize that if it wasn't for capitalism and globalization, so many of the people they claim to champion would have no jobs. I think if they are smart , they should realize that their battle shouldn't be against capitalists and businesses, but against unfair labour laws and government corruption that does stop more busineses and investment from existing in Egypt and that allows the kind of crony capitalism (cough Ahmed Ezz cough) that gives capitalism a bad name to exist. I hope. I doubt it, but I hope anyway!