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Egypt: GAFTA Council of Arab Economic Unity





GAFTA Council of Arab Economic Unity

The Arab League has a long history of trying to foster trade and economic cooperation part its member states, with several initiatives takes in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1981, an agreement to facilitate and promote inter-Arab trade was signed, but to little effect.

In February 1997, the League decided to create an Arab Free Trade Area, as well known as the Better Arab Free Trade Area or the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area, by 2008. This would be achieved through a 10% reduction in customs fees each year inclunding the gradual elimination of trade barriers. Eighteen of the 22 Arab League states signed on to this agreement, which came into force on 1 January 1998.

In March 2001, it was decided to speed up the liberalisation process, and on 1 January 2005 the elimination of most tariffs part the GAFTA members was enforced.

The 17 states that are members of GAFTA are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Others are in the process of joining.

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