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Trade chief Kaoru Yosano and visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed Monday to step up joint efforts to boost Egypt’s exports to Japan and develop social infrastructure in the region, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said.

During a half-hour meeting at a Tokyo hotel, Mubarak asked for 24.8 billion yen in yen loans to carry out a project on solar power generation and for 24 billion yen to back Cairo’s fund for social development, according to a MITI official.

The fund is aimed at helping Egypt finance local small and medium-size businesses via “two-step loans,” the official said.

Yosano promised Mubarak a budget for a feasibility study on the solar power project in the current fiscal year and said Tokyo will send a mission to Egypt to consider the details of aid for the fund and a wind power generation project.

Yosano also proposed the dispatch to the region of experts on smaller firms to study the needs of local business circles.

While Mubarak sought Japan’s cooperation in boosting Cairo’s exports to Japan and other nations worldwide, Yosano said Tokyo will support Egypt in building a trade training institute by providing technological and financial assistance through the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

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