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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes remarks about the protests in Egypt at the State Department on January 26, 2011 in Washington, D.C. - 


Steve Chiotakis: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to the Middle East this week. She's going to be visiting Tunisia and Egypt, where dramatic changes in leadership have created new economic challenges for U.S. policy makers.

From Washington, here's Marketplace's John Dimsdale.

John Dimsdale: Secretary Clinton says the U.S. will play a lead role in encouraging democracy and free markets in the newly liberated Arab countries.

Hillary Clinton: I know from my conversations with Egyptians both inside the government and outside the government, they're not looking to Europe. They're looking to us. And I think that's a good thing and we need to be there to help them.

Egypt gets billions in U.S. aid for its military. Middle East experts say that money would be better spent now on economic development, education and trade.

Mohsin Kahn at the Peterson Institute for International Economics says the U.S. should welcome imports from the Middle East.

Mohsin Kahn: This would be a very good carrot to put in front of these countries, that look, if you continue with your reforms, we in the United States are ready to offer you access to our markets.

But Secretary Clinton will have to be careful about what she promises. The U.S. textile industry, for example, wouldn't be too happy about a big increase in tariff-free Egyptian cotton imports.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.