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Press Release

Correction for the Record: Ambassador Patterson’s Remarks in Alexandria

February 6, 2013

 

There are widespread false reports about what the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne W. Patterson, said in Alexandria, yesterday, February 5.

Please find below the correct text of the section of her speech that was misreported, followed by the correct text of the entire speech.
Excerpt (from recording of the Ambassador’s remarks):

"Yes, democracy requires sacrifice.  Be it standing in line for elections, giving resources for your ideals, or risking careers and reputations to bring about change, Egyptians have shown the courage and willingness to make these sacrifices. The economy will be enhanced when the government and political opposition engage in a serious give-and-take on issues of importance. This includes the creation of laws for individual freedoms, ensuring freedoms of expression, assembly, and religion, protecting an independent judiciary and free press, and ensuring that minorities and women are well represented in Egypt's promising economic future."
 

Full speech (from recording of the Ambassador's remarks):

Kobusch Investment Launch
Borg Al Arab | February 5, 2013
Ambassador Anne Patterson
Opening Remarks
 
Thank you very much for your kind introduction and welcome. 
 
Let me start by recognizing the distinguished visitors:
. Mr. Abdallah Goweida, Chairman of Borg El Arab Authority;
·               Mr. Rabeh El Sherif, Managing Director of Kobusch Egypt;
. Mr. Borge Kvamme, CEO; 
and I also want to recognize, although he is not here today, the Managing Director of Sun Capital Partners, Mr. Jack Knott, but he should be recognized for his vision in continuing to invest in Egypt.
I am honored and very pleased to be here with you today.  I am honored to be speaking with you, the employees of Kobusch, who have helped make this company successful.  
Your commitment, hard work, and dedication has led to the announcement today of the expansion of this operation and I very much look forward to seeing your plant and I am proud to be invited to celebrate with you.
I want to offer my sympathy and condolences for those who have lost their lives and suffered in the continuing transition to democracy in Egypt.  Egypt is undeniably going through a difficult time, which is why investments like this are so important.
Yes, democracy requires sacrifice.  Be it standing in line for elections, giving resources for your ideals, or risking careers and reputations to bring about change, Egyptians have shown the courage and willingness to make these sacrifices. The economy will be enhanced when the government and political opposition engage in a serious give-and-take on issues of importance. This includes the creation of laws for individual freedoms, ensuring freedoms of expression, assembly, and religion, protecting an independent judiciary and free press, and ensuring that minorities and women are well represented in Egypt's promising economic future.   
 
Your expansion is a great example of the way the U.S. private sector can invest, create jobs, and stimulate the Egyptian economy.  This bold step is just the type of American investment we want to support and encourage, and I thank Mr. Knott and his partners for their vision.
Kobusch Egypt is a market leader in Egypt and the region.  This second expansion, after the first in 2007, shows that strategically investing in this market pays off and serves as a gateway to the region.  Kobusch Egypt has thrived in a very difficult environment in the last two years by paying a good wage and offering a bonus structure to all employees.  They employ trainees from local high schools to develop future employees.  These investments are investments in Egypt’s future.
This expansion, an investment of between 80 and 90 million EGP, will create 75 direct jobs and 125 indirect jobs.  It will create U.S.-Egypt trade in the amount of $4 million a year through the use of U.S. products in the production line.  Through Sun Capital partners, Kobusch Egypt will also benefit from the expertise of Sun Capital subsidiary Exopack.  This U.S. company, along with Kobusch Egypt, will share best practices and exchange ideas about how to improve efficiencies.  This exchange will benefit both countries as each side learns from the other's experience.
Kobusch Egypt has markets in Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and has recently expanded into Spain.  These exports bring badly needed foreign currency and promote regional trade.  Kobusch also works with other large Egyptian branches of U.S. companies like Proctor and Gamble, one of their largest customers.  All of these connections help the Egyptian economy and create jobs here in Egypt. 
I think at this time it is very important to remember and stress the enormous economic potential of Egypt. We're trying to do this in the American Embassy when we talk to potential investors and when we look at a management team like this, or as I did last week when I went out to smart village and saw some enormous and promising young Egyptian entrepreneurs.  The opportunity this country has to serve as a regional platform for foreign investors to make money and create a trained labor force are simply enormous.  
Mr. Al Sherif told me a very important fact while we were waiting to join you for this ceremony, and that's that the labor productivity for this plant is as high as any plant in the world for this large a firm. And I found that very encouraging. 
So we in the American Embassy will continue to encourage investors to come here to take advantage of these opportunities and learn from the example of firms like Kobusch.
So let me conclude by applauding the workers here today and your colleagues out on the floor of the factory.  Your commitment to excellence, your hard work, and your efforts have brought us here today. And I also applaud Sun Capital for having the vision to continue to invest here in Kobusch, in Egypt, and we know that everyone will be rewarded for their boldness.
Thank you.