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CAIRO, Sept 20, 2018(MENA) - Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar discussed with director general of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Claudia Warning, and her accompanying delegation the future of joint economic cooperation and means to activate bilateral cooperation programmes in the fields of trade, industry and small and medium-sized projects.

An expanded session of talks was held here on Thursday, with several senior German and Egyptian officials attending.

The talks touched on means of benefiting from the joint German cooperation projects in Egypt in the fields of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as upgrading vocational education and training, Nassar said.

Nassar added that developing the SMEs tops the priorities of his ministry’s plan of action and represents a key structure of the Egyptian economy.

Egypt’s exports to Germany have significantly increased by 9.5 per cent during the first half of 2018, recording 717 million euros, against 654.6 million euros in 2017, Nassar said.

He added that Egypt’s imports from Germany declined by 44 per cent during the first half of the current year, registering 1.4 billion euros, compared with 2.6 billion euros in the past year.

Warning said that her country attaches great importance to boosting economic ties with Egypt, which is considered as one of Germany’s most important economic and trade partners in the Middle East.

She called for providing governmental support to all development cooperation projects that Germany is implementing in Egypt.

CAIRO, Sept 19 , 2018 - Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar met the Head of the Egyptian-French Business Council, Fouad Younes, with whom he discussed ways the council could be effective in boosting economic relations between Egypt and France.

In a statement released by the ministry on Wednsday, Nassar said that the council was focusing on two main factors: Attracting French investments to Egypt and boosting Egyptian exports to French markets.

French investments here stand at about four billion Euros in 150 projects.

Nassar spoke of benefiting to the maximum from the council. This was especially important, he said, as Egypt represents one of the European Union’s most important trading partners.

He referred to the role of the council in supporting the flow of trade, and encouraging the French private sector to carry out new investment projects in Egypt.

The minister also said that discussions were taking place to prepare for Egyptian fashion week in 2020 so as to be one of the most significant international fashion weeks in the world.

 This, he said, would contribute to promoting Egyptian trademarks.

The government aimed at restoring Egypt’s international position in the field of textiles and ready-made garments through upgrading the designs as well as the textile and clothing industry, Nassar said.

He added that upgrading the design and fashion industry in Egypt was of paramount importance because it contributes to putting Egypt on the map of the international fashion weeks which are held annually in major cities around the world.

In another development, Minister of Investment and International Co-operation Sahar Nasr on Wednsday asserted Egypt’s keenness on boosting economic co-operation with Germany and increasing German investments in the light of the strategic relations between the two countries.

“Egypt wants Germany to be one of the top countries investing in Egypt,” Nasr said during her meeting with the Director-General of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development Claudia Warning and the  Head of Development Co-operation with the Middle East, Klaus Kramer.

Germany, Nasr said, is now in the 20th position in terms of countries investing in Egypt with investments worth $641.4 million having 1,103 companies investing in chemicals, petroleum, communications, gas, cars and steel sectors.

“The ministry is supporting private sector investment. Therefore, legislative reforms have been made to facilitate measures for investors, including the investment law, its executive statute and modifications to the corporate and money market laws,” Nasr said.

BRUSSELS, Sept 18, 2018 (News Wires) - European Union regulators have opened an in-depth investigation into whether automakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen colluded to limit the development and roll-out of car emission control systems.

The EU Commission said on Tuesday that it had received information that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, and VW units Audi and Porsche held meetings to discuss clean technologies aimed at limiting car exhaust emissions.

The probe focuses on whether the automakers agreed not to compete against each other in developing and introducing technology to restrict pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars.

"If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The Commission said its probe was focused on diesel emission control systems involving the injection of urea solution into exhaust to remove harmful nitrogen oxides. The probe follows a report in Der Spiegel magazine last year that the automakers had agreed to limit the size of the tanks holding the urea solution.

The case is another source of diesel trouble for German automakers in the wake of Volkswagen's emissions scandal.

The Commission said, however, there was no evidence the companies had colluded to develop so-called defeat devices - computer software that illegally turns off emissions controls. Volkswagen in 2015 admitted using such devices and has set aside 27.4 billion euros ($32 billion) for fines, settlements, recalls and buybacks.

Former CEO Martin Winterkorn was criminally charged by US authorities but cannot be extradited; Audi division head Rupert Stadler has been jailed while prosecutors investigate possible wrongdoing.

BERLIN, Sept 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Thousands of people are protesting against the expansion of a coal strip mine in western Germany that would entail the chopping down of an ancient forest.

Police in the city of Aachen estimated that 4,000 protesters took part in a march toward Hambach forest Sunday.

Some carried saplings they planned to plant between the woodland and the adjacent lignite mine operated by German utility company RWE.

Authorities have been trying for days to evict environmentalists who chained themselves to treehouses and tree trunks.

German news agency dpa reported that two men who were hiding inside a makeshift tunnel left voluntarily after medics warned they could run out of oxygen.

Environmental groups hope a government-appointed committee examining the future of Germany's coal industry will recommend halting the destruction of Hambach forest.

BERLIN, Sept 16 , 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Ambassador to Germany Badr Abdel Ati hailed Germany's TUI - the world's number one tourism company - for its plans to launch for the first time direct flights to the Upper Egypt governorate of Luxor as of November.

In an interview with MENA correspondent on Sunday, he said the company plans to increase its flights by 20 percent during the winter season, noting that 2018 will be the year of German tourism in Egypt.

He also lauded the company's plans to promote entertainment and cultural tourism in Egypt.

He added that Germany occupies the first position with regard to the number of tourists visiting Egypt.

Abdel Ati expressed optimism that these measures would promote German tourism to Egypt.

BERLIN, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Germany's Foreign Ministry says the US decision to shut down the Palestinians' de facto embassy in Washington could complicate trying to get Palestinians and Israelis back to the table to talk about a two-state solution in the Middle East.

Spokeswoman Maria Adebahr told reporters Friday that the decision is a bilateral issue, but the Foreign Ministry fears it could complicate "the resumption of talks for a two-state solution."

The Trump administration notified the Palestinians last year it planned to shutter their office in Washington unless they entered serious peace talks with Israel, and on Monday made good on that promise, announcing the mission was being closed.

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