Egyptian exports to the US market have declined 45% in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period in the previous year, said Trade and Industry Minister Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour. Egyptian exports to the US under the Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) agreement dropped 17% but rose 32% under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in the first six months of the year, Abdel-Nour said during a meeting with members of the Egyptian side to the US-Egypt Business Council on Thursday after its reformation. Developing Egypt-US economic ties should be a priority for the new board of the joint council, the minister said. A new plan has to be set up, built on an integrated vision to increase Egyptian exports to the US market and attract US investments to Egypt, he said. Abdel-Nour said he received an invitation from the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington to visit the country in the coming period. He added he got another invitation from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to attend a seminar in April on investment opportunities in the Middle East. The participation of the US-Egypt Business Council in such events will be a great opportunity to probe means to promote cooperation with the US side, he said.