Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries. 

US Senate panel passes measure to ease aid to Egypt
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday to ease tight US controls on aid to Egypt, which was largely cut off after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi last summer following unprecedented mass protests. The “Egypt Assistance Reform Act of 2013” allows aid, but makes it subject to conditions such as adhering to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, cooperating on counter-terrorism and taking steps to restore democracy. [Ahram, DNE]
Libya and the US have agreed to set up a trade and investment council to regulate commercial issues between the two countries.  An agreement to establish the body was formally signed on Wednesday by the Minister of Economy, Mustafa Abofanas, and US Ambassador Deborah Jones acting on behalf of the US Trade Representative Michael Froman. The American-Libyan Council for Trade and Investment will work to regulate all commercial matters between Libya and the US.  This will include a wide range of trade and investment issues such as market access, intellectual property rights, and labor and enviromental issues. [Libya Herald]
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan of up to $20 million to Attawfiq Micro-Finance, part of an effort to help micro enterprises in Morocco and drive economic development across the country. The support will allow Attawfiq Micro-Finance to reach out to a greater number of these firms, which form the backbone of Morocco’s economy but often struggle to obtain financing. The project is part of IFC’s strategy to partner with local banks and channel lending to where it is needed most. [4-traders]
According to Ambassador Jacob Walles, Washington will review granting loan guarantees to Tunisia in 2014, to help raise funds on international financial markets. The guarantees will depend on whether the country undertakes economic reforms and on the political transition, especially setting a timetable for holding elections and adopting a Constitution. Ambassador Walles reiterated the US support for the Tunisian economy and its partnership with the IMF and the World Bank, noting that in the past three years the US has provided Tunisia with $350 million in aid. [L’economiste Maghrebin, French]
Also of Interest:
Egyptian planning minister: IMF loan not on current government’s agenda | SIS
EIB backs Egyptian infrastructure projects with €392 million loan | KUNA
Kuwaiti investor to establish projects worth $500 million in Egypt | Cairo Post
Statement at the conclusion of an IMF mission to Jordan | IMF 
Libya violence deters Tunisian workers | Magharebia
New shipping line to link Aqaba and Libyan Benghazi | ANSAMed
Morocco’s stock rising in Washington | Morocco Gazette
As Yemen rebuilds, policy paralysis drags on economy | Reuters
Yemen calls for reforms on liquid gas prices | Yemen Times