Egypt Independent

Part of British trade mission to Egypt declines visit

Five companies that were supposed to be part of a British trade

mission to Egypt to discuss investment opportunities have declined to participate. The mission is set to arrive in Alexandria on 19 January for a four-day visit.

Taher al-Sherif, secretary general of the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce, said the companies declined after news from Cairo on preparations for rallies on the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution, and in response to warnings from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

“Only 11 companies are coming,” Sherif said. “And they will leave before 25 January.”

“We are meeting in Alexandria on Sunday to discuss certain projects in Egypt,” he added.

Among the companies with the mission are Skanska, one of the largest construction and contracting companies in the world; Stephenson Harwood, which specializes in joint ventures between public and private sectors; Basmar, which specializes in establishing universities; and Egyptian Experience, which specializes in residential tourism projects, and already has four projects in Sinai and one in Luxor.

“The mission is assessing investment opportunities in Egypt, and possibilities of benefiting from foreign funding programs,” Sherif explained. “They are also looking for potential partners.”

“Egypt has a vibrant business sector and is a solid state,” he said.

The National Salvation Front, the leading opposition coalition, has called on all Egyptians to take to the streets on the revolution’s anniversary to protest against the newly approved Constitution.

Several political parties and revolutionary groups said they would participate in the protests, including the Egyptian Socialist Party, which said it would participate to fulfill the goals of the revolution.

Privately owned Youm7 newspaper reported on its website that several marches are planned to start from different areas of Cairo to congregate at Tahrir Square, the locus of the 25 January revolt, and the presidential palace in Heliopolis.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm