- Greater Arab Free Trade Area
1 January 2005, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (also referred to as GAFTA) came into existence. GAFTA is a pact made by the Arab Leagueto achieve a complete Arab economic bloc that can compete internationally. GAFTA is relatively similar to ASEAN. cite web |url=http://mit.gov.jo/Default.aspx?tabid=732 |title=The Jordanian Ministry of Industry & Trade describes GAFTA |accessdate=2008-03-18 ]
The Project was adopted in the Arab League Summit of
Ammanin 1997, with 17 Arab League members signing the pact, it is supervised and run by the Arab Economic Council in the Arab League. GAFTA has a high income, population, and area and has significant resources available. cite web |url=http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=2309 |title=Full text of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement (1997) |publisher=bilaterals.org |date=2005-07-17 |accessdate=2008-03-18 ]
*flagicon image|Flag of Palestine.svg|Flag of Palestine Palestine
Possible future members:
The Greater Arab Free Trade Area was a project adopted in 1997, when 17 Arab League members agreed on decreasing the customs on local production and to make an Arab
Free Zonefor exportsand importsbetween members.The members participate in 96% of the total internal Arabtrade, and 95% with the rest of the world by applying the following conditions:
#Instruct the inter-customs fees:
#:To reduce the Customs on Arab products by 10% annually, the 14 Arab states reported their custom tariff programs to the Security Council of the Arab League to coordinate them with each others, except for
Syriathat is still using the Brussels tariffs system.
#Applying the locality of the Arab products:
#:All members have shared their standards and specifications to help their products move smoothly from one country to another.
#:The League also created a project to apply the Arab Agriculture Pact:
#:which is to share the standards of the agricultural sector and inject several more restrictions and specifications where all members have involved in them.
#:The Arab league granted exceptions, which allow a customs rate for certain goods, to six members for several goods, however rejected requests by
Morocco, Lebanonand Jordanfor additional exceptions.
#:The League created a database and a service to inform and promote for the private's sectors benefits, and how there work would be in the GAFTA treaty is needed.
#:The Arab Economic and Social Council in its 65th meeting agreed on pointing a base for communication to ease communication between member states, and also to work to ease communication between the Private and public sectors to apply the Greater Arab Free Trade Area between members.
#:In the 67th meeting the
Arab Economic and Social Councilagreed that the 40% decrease on customs on goods in the past 4 years of the GAFTA will continue and following the decisions of the Amman Summit of the Arab League, the members will put more efforts to eliminate all customs duties on local Arab goods.
The Agadir Agreement for the Establishment of a Free Trade Zone between the Arabic Mediterranean Nations was signed in
Rabat, Moroccoon 25 February 2004.cite web |url=http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=2513 |title=Full text of the Agreement (English version)] The agreement aimed at establishing a free trade areabetween Jordan, Tunisia, Egyptand Moroccoand it was seen as a possible first step in the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade areaas envisaged in the Barcelona Process.cite web |url=http://www.euromesco.net/media/euromesco_paper_45.pdf |title="The Agadir Agreement and Open regionalism" |first=Steffen |last=Wippel|format=PDF] All members of the Agadir Agreement have since joined the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, effectively superseding the agreement.
Comparison with other regional blocs
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
Middle East Free Trade Areaan inatitive for a FTA be* Arab League
Arab Monetary Fund
Arab Maghreb Union
Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
European Neighbourhood Policy
Third country economic relationships with the European Union
* [http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=2513 Full text of the Agadir Agreement (English version)]
* [http://www.euromesco.net/media/euromesco_paper_45.pdf "The Agadir Agreement and Open regionalism" by Steffen Wippel]
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