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

The European Union wants to restart talks with Egypt over a wider free trade deal that could help double the value of commercial exchanges in the next few years, according to James Moran, the EU ambassador to Cairo. Egypt has had an Association Agreement with the EU since 2004, as well as an agricultural and fisheries products agreement that took effect in 2010. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) would extend far beyond the Association Agreement to cover trade in services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property rights and investment protection. [Reuters]
The U. Agency for International Development is ready to raise its economic assistance to Egypt from $250 million to $300 million provided the Congress approves such an increase, USAID Cairo Mission Director Mary Otto said. According to Otto, USAID fully backs to the private sector in Egypt and the Middle East by extending financial and technical support to all the sector’s institutions. Egypt’s main problem is financing projects, with only 30 percent of the finance going to the small and medium sized companies, as most these companies are self-financed by their owners, she said. [MENA]
Ali Zeidan’s government has revealed that it had received only LYD 50.48 billion in 2013 from the 2013 budget, with only “a few billion” leftover in its various accounts. The 2013 budget totaled LYD 66.86 billion. However, the blockade of Libya’s eastern oil ports by the militant federalist Ibrahim Jadhran since the middle of the summer of 2013 means that in reality Libya has had reduced oil revenues which have caused the budget to shrink. [Libya Herald]  
The EU will step up its technical and financial assistance to Tunisia and is prepared to speed up talks to improve Tunisia’s economic growth prospects. The EU reiterated its support to Tunisia as part of the democratic transition process and pledged to bolster bilateral relations as part of a ”privileged partnership”. It will also help Tunisia to prepare for the upcoming elections, ”which will allow the Tunisian population to freely choose their leaders”. [ANSAmed]
Also of Interest:
Despite political unrest, domestic tourism in Egypt performed well in 2013 | DNE
Egypt’s FDI hits $2.1 billion in H1 – Minister | Amwal Al-Ghad
National Bank of Egypt gets $50 million from EBRD | Amwal Al-Ghad
Strike at Egypt’s largest public textile factory | Ahram
77 percent of young Egyptian employees prefer entrepreneurship: survey | DNE
Jordan’s King meets with President of the World Bank | JNA
Jordan, US sign $1.9 million nuclear agreement | JNA
Opinion: Time for more think tanks to set up shop in MENA | Zawya DJ [sub.-based]