A trade deal that allows Egyptian textile products to be exported duty-free to the US as long as they include some components from Israel, has been amended so that a lower Israeli input is required.

The change means that the Israeli content of the products, which can include packaging, has been reduced from 11.7% to 10.5%.

The Qualified Industrial Zones agreement was described as "the most significant economic agreement between Egypt and Israel in 20 years" when it came into force in February 2005 as part of Middle East peace efforts.

It was aimed at boosting exports from so-called Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ), by allowing companies based there to export textiles and apparel to the US without paying trade tariffs.

The agreement is now being modified following requests from 17 Egyptian textile and agricultural businesses, local news reports said.
The success of the programme has helped boost Egyptian textile and clothing exports from QIZs by 37% in the first five months of this year, to $306m.

The United States established its first QIZ programme with Jordan and Israel in 1996 to stimulate economic cooperation, cross-border investment, job creation and economic development in the region.