Egyptian ambassador to talk business at Duquesne Club

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Aquatech, a Canonsburg-based company, was doing business in Egypt before an uprising swept the country two years ago. Even as tourists left, Aquatech stayed, and the company is still doing business there now.

"It's very interesting, because business-wise, in one sense you can say throughout the whole happenings of the two years, business hasn't missed a step," said Devesh Sharma, managing director of the company, which provides water purification systems technology for industrial and infrastructure markets.

If anything, he added, Aquatech has seen opportunities increase, especially as the government begins enforcing environmental regulations that his company can help industries meet.

But will that strong business environment last?

Represenatives from Aquatech -- and other companies in the Pittsburgh area with ties to the Middle East -- will get the chance to ask those types of questions Friday, when Egyptian ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik speaks at an event hosted at the Duquesne Club Downtown by the American Middle East Institute and co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

"We see our job as a means to keep things as stable as possible by promoting these business ties, because we really believe in the power of commercial diplomacy," said Simin Curtis, president of the Pittsburgh-headquartered institute. "There is a great deal of opportunity, notwithstanding the occasional unrest you read about in the papers."

Egypt, long considered a stable American ally, has experienced turmoil during the past two years, and even today there was another bad turn for the country when a hot air balloon crashed near the city of Luxor, killing 19 tourists.

"Obviously, anything bad that is coming out of a country can be a damper on some of the interests that a business might have in a particular country," Ms. Curtis said. "Our philosophy is that business marches on."

That philosophy has held true, Mr. Sharma said. The company, which has been sending employees to projects in Egypt for five or six years, has kept a close watch on the recent political unrest, but the private sector appears strong, he said.

In September, Aquatech was awarded a major project to help the chemicals industry meet new environmental regulations and recyle its water. When Mr. Tawfik speaks in Pittsburgh, Aquatech is interested in knowing what the future holds for the country -- and for Aquatech.

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This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To subscribe: Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707.


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